Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to evaluate corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting in six large banks each from Japan, China, Australia and India over the period of 2005-2011. Design/methodology/approach – CSR and banks’ annual reports and websites were analysed using a comprehensive disclosure framework to evaluate the themes of ethical standards, extent of CSR reporting, environment, products, community, employees, supply chain management and benchmarking. Findings – Over the seven years, bank CSR disclosure improved in all four countries. Australian banks were found to have the best scores and Indian banks demonstrated maximum improvement. Despite the absence of legislative requirements or standards for CSR, this paper finds that CSR reporting continued to improve in quality and quantity in the region on a purely voluntary basis. Research limitations/implications – This study indicates that financial institutions have a commitment to CSR activities. The comparison between financial institutions in developed and developing economies suggests that the motivation for such activities is complex. A review of the studied banks suggests that strategic rather than economic drivers are an important influence. Practical implications – Asia-Pacific Governments need not mandate bank CSR reporting standards as the banks improved their CSR reporting consistently over the seven years despite the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Originality/value – A disclosure framework index is used to assess the comprehensiveness of bank practice in relation to CSR reporting. This approach enables cross-sectional and cross-country comparisons over time and the ability to replicate and apply to other industries or sectors.
Social Responsibility Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 2, 2015