Corporate Sustainability Reporting: The Case of the Banking Industry

CIGI Paper No. 211

February 21, 2019

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.

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CIGI Papers present in-depth analysis and discussion on governance-related subjects. They include policy papers that present CIGI experts' positions or contributions to policy debates, and background papers that contain research findings, insights and data that contribute to the development of policy positions.

About the Authors

Amr ElAlfy is an assistant professor of sustainability management at the College of Business and Economics at Qatar University.

Olaf Weber is a CIGI senior fellow and an expert on sustainability and the banking sector. He is currently a professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo and a University of Waterloo Research Chair in Sustainable Finance.