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India Tops In CR Reporting, But Quality Of Disclosures Needs Improvement: Study

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India has emerged as the top country for reporting corporate responsibility information in the annual financial report of companies, but the quality of disclosures has to improve, according to a KPMG survey.

KPMG has published this survey on CR Reporting since 1993. The 2017 survey is the 10th edition, with research carried out from across 49 KPMG member firms including India. Each member firm reviewed annual financial and corporate responsibility reporting by the largest 100 companies, by revenue, in their own country. The survey refers to two research samples – The N100 – the largest 100 companies in each of 49 countries: 4,900 companies in total and the G250 – the largest 250 companies in the world, making it the most extensive survey ever.

With the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) mandating the top 500 listed companies to disclose their non-financial performance, India scores high in this parameter. Strong regulatory policies have ensured that 99% of the companies have reported on their sustainability performance

In February, 2017, SEBI asked the top 500 listed companies to adopt Integrated Reporting on a voluntary basis. This has resulted in some early adoption in the space, but it is yet to gain momentum. Integrated Reporting acceptance is low with 5 companies publishing the same.

CR reporting rates in Asia Pacific have stabilised following a surge of 8% points between 2013 and 2015. Several countries with the highest CR reporting rates in the world, such as Japan, India, Malaysia and Taiwan are in the Asia Pacific region.

As Human Rights reporting is one of the core principles of the National Voluntary Guidelines, issues related to the same features quite prominently in the CR/Sustainability disclosures. 95 companies acknowledge Human Rights as an issue to their business well above the global average.

Taking a stance on climate related issues, the business risks of climate change have been acknowledged by 34 companies in their non-financial disclosures. From the minority that acknowledge climate change as a risk 31 companies have responded along with carbon reduction targets.

Commenting on regulation driving human rights reporting in India, Santhosh Jayaram, Partner, Sustainability Services, KPMG in India, said, “From a corporate reporting point of view, the Business Responsibility Report (BRR), an annual disclosure mandated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), requires the top 500 listed companies to report on nine core principles, one of which focuses on human rights. This mandate can be credited as the driver for most of India’s top 100 companies proactively disclosing their performance on human rights practices while also substantiating the same through existing policies and mechanisms.”

The survey explored trends in Sustainable Development Goals, which have been gaining momentum in India and its acceptance is slowly increasing. Yet the reporting or linkage of SDGs in India is below the global average of 39%. 18 companies have linked their business activities with the SDGs in their sustainability reporting.

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Regards,
The CSR Journal Team

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