DOES MANDATORY CSR REPORTING LEAD TO HIGHER CSR TRANSPARENCY? THE CASE OF FRANCE

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Anna-Lena Kühn, Markus Stiglbauer, Janina Heel

DOI:10.22495/cocv11i2p3

Abstract

Expedited by the financial crisis and increased stakeholder activism, the demand for reliable and accountable business practices and transparency has gained momentum in the current corporate social responsibility (CSR) debate. Consequently, companies have started to become aware of the increasing importance of conveying increased transparency and accountability to stakeholders, gaining their legitimacy and establishing a positive public image through adequate CSR reporting. Since it is obligatory to disclose information on corporate financial performance and on companies’ environmental and social impact in France, this paper addresses how transparent French listed companies of the CAC 40 communicate their CSR engagement externally. To turn the latent construct ‘transparency of CSR reporting’ into a measurable value, we conduct qualitative content analysis based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines. Assuming mandatory CSR reporting to increase companies’ CSR transparency in general, most of the companies communicate their corporate profile, strategy and management broadly. Whereas companies report the environmental dimension most frequently, they refer only marginally to the economic and social dimensions.

Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, Mandatory Reporting, Transparency, France

How to cite this paper: Kühn, A. L., Stiglbauer, M. & Heel, J. (2014). Does mandatory CSR reporting lead to higher CSR transparency? The case of France. Corporate Ownership & Control, 11(2), 29-45. http://dx.doi.org/10.22495/cocv11i2p3