Today, the Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program publishes its seventh semi-annual Survey of Reporting on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by the Ten Largest Listed Companies (by market capitalization) in 11 Central and Eastern European (CEE) Countries. This edition of the survey was co-financed by DWS Investments (Deutsche Bank Group). DWS Investments provided funding for PFS Program interns Dana Krechowicz (Canada) and Plamena Spassova (Bulgaria), who conducted the survey together with PFS Program Research Assistant Michal Slawinski from August 14 through September 30, 2006. The funding of this project continues the numerous measures and initiatives in which Deutsche Bank puts the sustainability concept into practice. DWS Investments, an affiliate of Deutsche Bank Group, offers products that cater to different investors rising interest in sustainability products. Additional co-financing for the Canadian intern was provided by MBAs Without Borders, whose mission is to contribute to the business and social development of transition economies through work rotations of MBA professionals.
Companies in Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia were surveyed for the seventh time; companies in Hungary and Poland were surveyed for the sixth time; and companies in Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania were surveyed for the fifth time. Moreover, an inaugural analysis of peer companies (the ten largest listed companies by market capitalization) in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) as well as Ukraine allows for benchmarking with these emerging market peers for the first time.
PFS Program surveys analyze the annual reports and websites of the ten largest listed companies in the above-mentioned 11 CEE countries in order to document the current disclosure practices of this blue-chip peer group and identify best practice among the peer group. Whereas the universe of companies surveyed may change over time due to changes in a companys market capitalization, the semi-annual surveys of reporting on CSR represent a snapshot of this peer groups CSR disclosure practices on a given day twice a year. Furthermore, by analyzing disclosures in both annual reports and websites, the surveys track the timing of the publication of the annual report and the related yet separate issue of periodic disclosure, namely, how blue-chip companies keep their websites data-rich and up-to-date. The surveys enable companies to benchmark their disclosure practices against peers on a national, industry and regional basis.
This survey analyzes companies disclosures in English (in the English-language annual report and on the English-language company website) during the time period August September 2006 on the following three topics: corporate governance, environmental policy and social policy. The record date for the disclosures is September 15, 2006.
In Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia all 10 of the companies surveyed in each country have an English-language website. 94% of the 110 CEE companies surveyed have an English-language website. 71% of the 100 CEE companies surveyed had released their 2005 annual report online by September 15, 2006. In general, companies in Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia disclose the most information online.
This seventh semi-annual regional survey demonstrates a generally similar level of disclosure on company websites to that observed during the past three years across all three information categories analyzed: corporate governance, environmental policy and social policy. In general, companies provide more information on corporate governance than on environmental or social policy. Also, corporate governance codes continue to significantly impact reporting on corporate governance issues in certain countries. Several companies now issue separate/stand-alone reports on environmental, social and/or governance (ESG) issues. Of the 110 CEE companies surveyed, 14 (13%) have English-language ESG reports available online on September 15, 2006. Five companies (4.5%) produce the report in accordance with recognized standards, such as Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines. Five Brazilian companies, four Russian companies, two Indian companies and two Chinese companies have English-language ESG reports available online. In comparison, a July 2006 research survey conducted by Social Investment Research Analysts Network noted that 34 S&P 100 companies (34%) produce an ESG report in compliance with GRI guidelines.
Survey findings include the following:
94% of the CEE companies surveyed have an English-language website on the record date of September 15, 2006 compared with 87% in April 2006, 89% in September 2005 and 81% in April 2005. In contrast, 100% of the surveyed companies in BRIC and 50% of the Ukrainian companies surveyed have an English-language website.
71% of the CEE companies surveyed have an English-language 2005 annual report available online on the record date of September 15, 2006 compared with 78% on September 15, 2005 and 65% on August 15, 2004.
Nine Slovene, eight Polish, six Czech and six Hungarian companies disclose implementation of a corporate governance code in their annual report.
75% of the CEE companies surveyed disclose information on their governance structure in the company’s annual report, compared with 62% in April 2006 and 68% in September 2005. 45% of the BRIC companies surveyed and 20% of the Ukrainian companies surveyed provide this information.
64% of the CEE companies surveyed disclose employee benefits or development policies in the (2003, 2004 or 2005) annual report currently available online, compared with 42% in April 2006, 48% in September 2005, 37% in April 2005 and 42% in August 2004.
45% of the CEE companies surveyed disclose information on compliance with environmental standards on their website, compared with 37% in April 2006, 48% in September 2005, 41% in April 2005 and 37% in August 2004.
25% of the CEE companies surveyed report on environmental performance in their annual report, compared with 48% of the BRIC companies surveyed.
Note: The survey consists of the following documents: a report of the survey findings presenting data aggregated by country; a database of individual data by company for the ten largest listed companies in each of the 11 CEE countries; and a separate database of individual data by company for the ten largest listed companies in BRIC and Ukraine.