Today, the PFS Program publishes its third semi-annual Survey of Reporting on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by the 10 Largest Listed Companies (by Market Capitalization) in Central and Eastern Europe. Companies in Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia were surveyed for the third time. Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania were included in the survey for the first time. The survey was conducted by PFS Program Interns Marek Korycki, Izabela Sampson, Zuzana Schwartzova and Adam Szymasiuk.
The survey provides current data concerning companies’ disclosures on a range of CSR issues in annual reports and on websites as of August 15, 2004. For the companies from the eight new member states of the European Union (EU), comparative data from the previous surveys conducted in April 2004 and August 2003 is presented
In general, disclosures on CSR issues were similar to those observed in the survey conducted in April 2004. However, the survey demonstrates improvement in the quality and quantity of disclosures about corporate governance issues. As noted in the survey conducted in spring 2004, EU accession and adoption of corporate governance codes in several countries in 2003/2004 are two factors influencing broader and deeper reporting.
Survey findings include the following:
86% of the companies surveyed have an English language website (compared with 85% in April 2004 and 85% in August 2003);
74% of the companies surveyed provide an electronic version of the
English-language annual report for 2003 (compared with 76% of the companies who provided a 2002 or 2003 annual report in April 2004);
99% of the companies surveyed disclose information about their governance structure in their annual report (compared with 59% in April 2004 and 40% in August 2003);
35% of the companies surveyed note compliance with environmental standards in their annual report (the same percentage as in April 2004 whereas in Augsut 2003 the percentage was 19%); and
51% of the companies surveyed mention employee development or benefits policy in their annual report (compared with 49% in April 2004 and 34% in August 2003).
In terms of disclosures made on company websites, other comparative findings include the following:
In August 2004, 53% of the companies surveyed disclosed information about their shareholder rights policy; in April 2004, 51% of companies disclosed this information; and in August 2003, 14% of companies disclosed this information.
In August 2004, 31% of the companies surveyed provided information about their environmental performance; in April 2004, 28% of companies provided this information; and in August 2003, 14% of companies surveyed provided this information;
In August 2004, 17% of companies provided information about compliance with labor standards; in April 2004, 21% of companies provided this information; and in August 2004 only 3% of companies provided this information.
The first time results for Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania are positive; whereas few companies disclose complete information in English on all three information categories surveyed, at least one company from each country disclosed information on each of the five questions in each of the three categories. This demonstrates an awareness of these issues in each country.
Starting today, the survey is available online at: www.ewmi.hu/capitalmarkets_research.php
About the Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program
The Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program, established in December 1999, is a cooperative program of the United States Department of State and East-West Management Institute (EWMI), a New York-based non-profit organization. Active in the Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the PFS Program is mandated to fill remaining gaps in the institutional development of the financial sector through regional integration and cooperation, selective technical assistance programs and the practical application of lessons learned in neighboring countries. The substantive areas covered under the PFS Program are: accounting, auditing, banking, capital markets, insurance and pension reform.
Conceptually, PFS Program activities share ideas, experiences learned and policy recommendations with the goal of strengthening existing and building new institutions to further advance financial sector reform. Also, the PFS Program is mandated to identify and promote the implementation of best practices and international standards in the above-mentioned financial sectors. All PFS Program activities are regional in nature and include a cost-sharing element on the part of local institutions.