Responsible Investment and the Disclosure of ESG Information in the Companies’ Integrated Reports

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Hong Ching
World Sustainability Series
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CHING, H. Responsible Investment and the Disclosure of ESG Information in the Companies’ Integrated Reports. World Sustainability Series, p. 449-463, sept. 2020.
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© 2020, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.The objectives of this research are twofold: examine to what extension the environmental, social and governance information ESG are disclosed in the Integrated Reports of three industry sectors and whether there is difference in the disclosure between these chosen sectors. The vehicle of analysis is the Integrated Report and in its absence, the Sustainability Report. The disclosure reference model of sustainability proposed by Ching, Toste and Tardelli was used to examine which ESG information described in this model are present in the companies’ reports. The sample consists of 15 companies of automotive, consumer goods and health care sectors. There were different levels of ESG information disclosure in the reports of the chosen companies, both in the dimension and in sectors. The disclosure in Corporate Governance dimension as well as in the consumer goods sector was less reported. The conclusions are: (a) there is still a long way to go by companies on the importance of disclosing ESG information; (b) one may speculate whether the low level of disclosure in corporate governance is due to lack of knowledge or disregard by the companies for this information; (c) the integrate reports are still being adopted in a shy way, given that the first release of its framework was in 2012. Finally, there is a concern about how socially responsible fund managers and responsible investors are making their investment decisions, as their primary source of ESG information should be disclosed in the Integrated Reports or Sustainability Reports.