Corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports are hard to compare, and often it is not possible to evaluate corporate social performance based on the current voluntary and unstandardized reporting structures. This also applies to CSR reports in the financial industry, where the complex and often indirect interactions with the environment and society present additional challenges for reporting. At this precarious stage in our planet and our society's health and well-being, and to ensure corporate sustainability, CSR reporting should be a standardized and mandatory reporting system.

Initiatives such as the Task Force for Climate-related Disclosure and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board have developed recommendations to standardize CSR reporting and make it mandatory. This paper examines these two initiatives among other existing reporting frameworks (the International Organization for Standardization, AccountAbility, the Carbon Disclosure Project, the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the Principles for Responsible Investment, the International Integrated Reporting Council, the Global Reporting Initiative and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals). This examination highlights the existing reporting gaps within these reporting frameworks and explores a set of conditions that may help organizations and financial institutions act in a socially responsible corporate behaviour that prioritizes sustainability, the health of the environment and the future of the planet.

  • Amr ElAlfy is a Ph.D. candidate and sessional instructor at the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo.

  • Olaf Weber is a CIGI senior fellow. His research focuses on sustainability and the banking sector. He is currently an associate professor at the University of Waterloo. Since 2010, Olaf has held the Export Development Canada Chair in Environmental Finance.