Global CSR Disclosure Requirements

The importance of corporate social responsibility reporting in today’s financial markets is rising. There has been an increase in the number of social reporting requirements driven by regulatory bodies and stock exchanges around the world that have played a key role in advancing the field of social reporting. The following chart summarizes recent requirements by governments and stock exchanges related to CSR disclosure, as well as developments with emerging socially responsible indices.

For more comprehensive descriptions of these various initiatives as well as a brief list of some of the most important developments we see materializing in the near future, please see the IRI’s working paper on this subject.

CountryDisclosure Efforts by GovernmentsDisclosure Efforts by Stock Exchanges
Argentina2008 Local and international companies in Buenos Aires with over 300 employees are required to generate annual sustainability reports.
Australia2010 Australia introduces its new ethical disclosure requirements under the Financial Services Reform Act (FSRA). Issuers of financial products are obliged to disclose the extent to which "labor standards or environmental, social or ethical considerations are taken into account in the selection, retention or realization of an investment."
2001 The Corporation Act requires some disclosure of violations of environmental legislation in listed companies annual reports.
2010 Companies listed on ASX must disclose if they have developed a code of conduct on environmental risks and controls.
2004 ASX mandates that all products disclose the extent to which environmental and social considerations are taken into account in investment selection.
Austria2010The Austrian Business Council for Sustainable Development (respect) initiated a project wherein they trained 25 SMEs in sustainability reporting.
2002 The government develops an action plan for sustainable public procurement, containing environmental, social, and ethical aspects to be taken into consideration.
Belgium2006 The Federal Action Plan for CSR was developed to promote CSR in Belgium and stimulate companies to integrate it in their management.
2003 Under Loi Pensions Complementaires (Occupational Pension Law), pension fund managers are required to disclose the extent to which they take into account ethical social, and/or environmental criteria in their investment policies in publically available annual reports.
Brazil2012 BM&F Bovespa announces sustainability reporting recommendations for all listed companies.
2010 Bovespa and development bank BNDES launched the ICO2 Carbon Efficient Index at the United Nations Climate talk in Cancun, Mexico in December.
2005 BM&F Bovespa creates a corporate sustainability index.
Canada2007-2008 Canadian Standards Association (CSA) GHG Registries is created to assist companies to manage, measure and report GHG emissions.
1999 The Environmental Protection Act requires companies to provide information on specific pollutant emissions.
2013 2013 Canada launches SVX, the Social Venture Connexion, one of the first social stock exchanges. It self-describes as a private investment platform made to connect impact ventures funds and investors.
China2008 An influential directive strongly encourages state-owned enterprises to follow sound CSR practices.
2008 The government’s “Green Securities” policy requires listed companies to disclose more information about their environmental record.
Denmark2009 Companies are required to disclose their CSR activities and use of environmental resources.
1996 Companies with “significant environmental impacts” are obligated to publish green reports.
European Union2013EC proposes Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council to require CSR disclosure in annual financial reporting. 2013 Investors support amendments proposed by European Commission (EC) to improve transparency on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting.
Ecuador2009 Mining companies are to maintain records on consumption of materials and resources and to present an annual environmental audit.
2001 Companies undertaking hydrocarbon activities must publish an annual report of environmental activities.
Finland2011 The Finnish government adopted a resolution asking non-listed state-owned companies and state majority-owned companies to report their sustainability performance
2006 The Finnish accounting standards board publishes guidelines for environmental disclosure in annual reports.
France2011 New national law states the proportion of women directors should not be below 40% in any company with annual revenues over 50 million euro.
2009 Companies with more than 500 employees in high emitting sectors are required to publish greenhouse gas emissions.
2002 Listed companies must disclose data on 40 labor and social criteria.
2001 Public pension funds are required to disclose how their investment policy guidelines have addressed social and environmental considerations.
2010 Article 225 includes a CSR reporting and social and environmental information obligation for listed companies and other large companies.
Germany2011 The German Council for Sustainable Development (GCSD) developed a German Sustainability Code. It includes 20 criteria and 27 GRI Performance Indicators.
2011 Deutsche Borse develops a two-tier system, where companies are list according to their level of best practices.
2004 Companies are required to report on key financial and non-financial indicators that materially affect the company.
2002 Pension fund trustees must inform beneficiaries how ecological, ethical and social needs have been considered in investments.
Greece2006 EU Modernization Directive 2003/51/EC, requiring material ESG factors to be included in annual corporate reporting, is transposed into national legislation.
Hong Kong2012 Hong Kong Stock Exchange announces plans to implement new requirements for board diversity for listed companies. Companies will have to comply or explain their reasoning for not adhering to the requirements.
2011 The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong publishes a consultation paper to seek views on its proposed Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Reporting Guide.
Hungary2004 EU Modernization Directive 2003/51/EC, requiring material ESG factors to be included in annual corporate reporting, is transposed into national legislation.
India2013Indian government is moving ahead with implementation of the Companies Act that makes it mandatory for certain class of profitable enterprises to spend money on social welfare activities.
2013 The Companies Bill 2012 makes it mandatory for companies with net worth of more than Rs 500 crore, or turnover of Rs 1,000 crore to adopt a CSR policy.
2009 Voluntary guidelines for CSR are issued.
2008 The Companies Act states that board of directors’ reports shall contain information on conservation of energy.
1986 Specified corporations shall submit an annual environmental audit.
2011 The Securities and Exchange Board of India mandates listed companies report on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives undertaken by them, according to the key principles enunciated in the 'National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibilities of Business.'
Indonesia2010 The government of Indonesia adopts a law that requires listed companies to report on the effects of their activities on society and the environment. Failure to do so necessitates an explanation for not disclosing this information.
2007 Companies involved in operations that affect natural resources are obligated to create, implement, and disclose CSR programs.
Ireland2008 Financial institutions supported by the government guarantee scheme are required to issue a bi-annual corporate responsibility report.
Italy2007 EU Modernization Directive 2003/51/EC, requiring material ESG factors to be included in annual corporate reporting, is transposed into national legislation.
2002 Pension funds are required to disclose non-financial factors that factor into their investment making.
Japan2004 Specified companies and government agencies are required to produce annual reports on their activities related to the environment.2009 Environmental ETF Japan Green Chip 35 (1347) is launched.
2003 Morningstar Socially Responsible Investment Index (MS-SRI) is the first SRI index in Japan.
South Korea2001 The required percentage of independent directors elected as board members for listed companies was increased to 50%.
Luxembourg2006 The Luxembourg Fund Labeling Agency (LuxFLAG) awards a recognizable label to eligible Microfinance Vehicles.
Malaysia2007 Listed companies are required to publish CSR information on a "comply or explain" basis.2010 Bursa Malaysia launches its Business Sustainability Program to encourage Malaysian publicly listed companies to integrate sustainability into their business strategies. The program includes the publication of a sustainability guide for company directors.
2007 Bursa Malaysia updates its listing requirements to implement government policy mandating disclosure of corporate responsibility data in annual reports.
2007 Disclosure of CSR data in annual reports of listed companies is mandated.
Mexico2004 It is mandatory to register the releases of toxins and pollutants at federally regulated industrial plants.
1997 The Clean Industry Certificate (CIL) is a voluntary audit awarded by the federal government, and has become an obligatory reference for Mexican companies.
The Netherlands2010 The government states its intention to have 100% sustainable procurement.
1999 Listed companies are required to publish annual environmental reports.
1993 The Environmental Protection Act includes a section on environmental reporting for the ‘largest polluters.’
Norway2013 The Norwegian government passed legislation in April, requiring large companies to disclose information on how they integrate social responsibility into their business strategies.
2009 Norwegian Accounting Act proposes amendments to extend public reporting to include sustainability performance.
2007 Listed companies must publish a statement on the companies’ principles for corporate governance.
2006 Large publicly listed companies are required to have their boards of directors be at least 40% women.
1998 Gender equality and environmental issues are to be included in companies’ directors’ reports.
2010 Companies that apply for listing on Oslo Børs or Oslo Axess should define and disclose guidelines for corporate social responsibility.
Pakistan2013 The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) approved the Corporate Social Responsibility Voluntary Guidelines, that encourage corporations to align their business strategies with responsible practices.
Philippines2012 The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) plans launch of Maharlika Board that creates listing and disclosure rules for companies that voluntarily abide by corporate governance practices in addition to those required by law.
Poland 2009 The Warsaw Stock Exchange launches the region’s first stock index of responsible companies in Central and Eastern Europe.
Saudi Arabia2008 Funded by the Saudi government, the Saudi Arabian Responsible Competitiveness Index (SARCI) is launched.
Singapore2011 The Code on Corporate Governance provides principles and guidelines for corporate governance, for which companies are required to disclose compliance.2012 The Singapore Stock Exchange announces plan to utilize environmental data to help listed firms assess their environmental impact as a means to better understand the country’s dependency on natural resources.
2011 The Singapore Stock Exchange launches voluntary guidelines for sustainability reporting.
South Africa2009 The Mineral Resources and Petroleum Bill requires certain companies to disclose to the government how they will address the impacts of their operations.
2008 The Companies Act holds directors personally liable for poor public disclosure of information.
2004 The Broad-Based Black Empowerment Act requires disclosure on corporate initiatives regarding black empowerment.
2012 The Johannesburg Stock Exchange has announced that more than 70% of listed companies fulfill the base requirements to become constituents of its 2012 Socially Responsible Index.
2009 King III requires integrated sustainability reporting and third party assurance.
2004 JSE launches its SRI Index, composed of the top performing companies on the exchange with regards to ESG issues.
Spain2011 Government-sponsored commercial companies and state-owned business enterprises are directed to file annual corporate governance and sustainability reports.
2007 Listed companies are required to nominate women to 40 percent of board seats.
Sweden2007 The Swedish government announces that by 2009 all state-owned companies will be required to produce an annual sustainability report in accordance with G3 guidelines.
2000 National pension funds are directed to draw up annual business plans that describe how environmental and ethical issues are considered in investment decisions.
2007 OMX reserves the right to delist companies who violate ethical norms.
Switzerland2012 BBGI-EthicalQuote Swiss Equities create first objective benchmark of the socially responsible investing sector in Switzerland.
Taiwan2008 The financial markets regulator required all public and listed companies to disclose their CSR performance, including measurements the company has adopted with regards to environmental protection, community participation, contribution to society, social and public interests, consumer rights and interest, and the state of implementation.2012 Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) launched an index that focuses on the corporate governance and corporate social responsibility.
2010 The Taiwan Stock Exchange released CSR best practice principles, originally drafted by the Taiwan Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Taiwan CSR Institute.
Thailand2010 The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) established the Corporate Social Responsibility Institute to encourage the business sector to move towards sustainable growth.
2006 Listed companies on the SET are required through form 56-1 to demonstrate in their annual registration statement how they comply with the exchange’s corporate governance principles.
Turkey2003 The Capital Markets Board of Turkey states that companies should respect the environment, consumers, and the public health.
2002 Environmental impact assessments become necessary for appropriation of funds for construction procurement contracts.
United Kingdom2013The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) in the UK is finalizing guidance on companies' disclosures on environmental, social, and diversity issues. The new Strategic Report is intended to replace the existing 'business review' section of annual reports and requires companies to provide a complete picture of their business activitiy, including social effects, calling into question what is material in business reporting.
2010 Companies that use more than 6,000MWh per year are to report on all emissions related to energy use.
2006 Companies listed on the London Stock Exchange are to disclose information on environmental, workplace, social, and community matters that are material to their business.
2000 Pension managers must provide a written statement dictating the extent to which social, environmental or ethical considerations are taken into account in investment decisions.
2009 The UK-based Social Stock Exchange (SSE) is launched.
2001 The London Stock Exchange is involved in the launch of the FTSE4Good Index.
United States of America2010 The Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases rule, often referred to as 40 CFR Part 9, states that the EPA now requires large emitters of greenhouse gases to collect and report data with respect to their greenhouse gas emissions.
2002The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SarbOx) requires the CEO and CFO of public companies to certify annual and quarterly reports as fair presentations of companies’ financial conditions.
1986 1986 Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) is enacted to inform citizens of toxic chemical releases and waste management activities in their areas.
2013 NYSE Euronext joined the United Nations’ Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative.
2013 In May, S&P Dow Jones Indices and RobecoSAM launched a new range of diversified sustainable indices from. The eight new indexes are targeted at investors who measure performance against standard benchmarks but wish to add sustainable companies to their portfolio.
2013 NYSE Governance Services launches suite of integrated resources for private and public companies looking to advance their corporate governance, risk, ethics, and compliance practices.
2003 The New York Stock Exchange adopts corporate governance rules requiring that listed companies “adopt and disclose a code of business conduct and ethics.”
Europe2013The European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee approved a draft law on corporate non-financial reporting requiring large companies to disclose information on their environmental, social and employee-related impact, as well as their diversity policy.
2013The European Parliament passed a law requiring oil, gas, mining and logging companies to disclose the payments they make for access to natural resources in all countries where they operate. 2010 Large emitters of greenhouse gases are to collect and report data with respect to their greenhouse gas emissions.
2002 In certifying annual and quarterly reports as fair presentations of companies’ financial conditions, CEOs and CFOs of public companies are to scrutinize disclosures of environmental information that affect asset values.
1986 The EPA and states are to collect data on releases and transfers of certain toxic chemicals from industrial facilities and make the data available to the public.