The Analysis of Corporate Social Responsibility Annual Reports and websites: Latvian case

Tatjana Tambovceva, Andrejs Tambovcevs

Abstract


Recent theoretical as well as practical scientific studies confirm that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an important tool for businesses of all sizes and fields of activities, which supports enterprises in their efforts to integrate environmental, social and broader economic questions in daily operations and relationships with the stakeholders. Furthermore, CSR helps the companies in creating competitive advantage, may have positive influence on its reputation and competitiveness, employee loyalty and employment, and deliver better financial returns. On a broader scale, CSR contributes to fostering sustainable environmental, social and economic development.

Corporate Sustainability Reporting has become a mainstream business activity. The reports of companies are intended to provide, in addition to informing the individual parties about a specific company, a possibility of mutual comparison between different companies or comparing a company’s results in different years.

This article presents the results of empirical research performed in Latvian organizations. The aim of this paper is to investigate CSR reporting information we can find in the annual reports or corporate websites in Latvia. There were annual reports for the years 2010 – 2013.

The authors of the paper used the following research methods: interpretative-theoretical research, and descriptive research. Content analysis as one of the most common methods for social information analysis also was used for research. Full sentences on company social responsibility and page ratio to full volume of annual report in percents were used as a measurement unit for content analysis..

According to the research results, there is lack of reporting using any international CSR reporting guidelines or the performances are very weak. The difference in the interest towards CSR is clearly visible between large enterprises versus SMEs, and also between foreign, subsidiary, and local enterprises. At the same time enterprises that have developed CSR policies do not always follow them in reality. There are also local enterprises that take socially responsible actions without knowing that their activities can be defined as CSR.

The results of research have revealed that the content of disclosure in Latvian companies is not comprehensive and is highly various. Companies that do report most often include corporate responsibility information in a separate section of their annual report, but some of them issue a corporate responsibility report. Investigated companies usually use written narrative but not quantifiable methods to disclose CSR in their reports. A small number of companies have disclosed information on community activity. Only some of surveyed companies have presented information on environment protection. Information on human resources and on product quality and safety has been presented in the annual reports of some companies.

It is revealed in the study that, to varying degrees, all listed companies practice sustainability disclosure in an unstructured manner in both the annual reports and corporate websites. The annual reports pass all categories of corporate sustainability practices: the economic, social and environmental dimensions issues are generally disclosed.


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