Currents of change: The KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2015

The KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2015 is now in its 9th edition and was first published in 1993. Research is carried out by professionals in KPMG member firms and is based on publicly available information published by companies in their corporate responsibility reports, annual financial reports and websites.

For this latest edition, the research covered either 2013 or 2014 and was based on a sample of the world’s 250 largest companies (G250), using the 2014 Fortune 500 listing . Global trends in CR reporting are based on a study of reporting from the top 100 companies by revenue in each of the 45 participating countries.


The study is presented in three parts:
• Part 1: Accounting for carbon: a report card
• Part 2: Quality of CR reporting among the G250
• Part 3: Global trends in CR reporting


In Parts 1 and 2, KPMG assessed the quality of CR reporting from the world’s 250 largest companies by revenue with a particular focus on the carbon information these companies publish in their annual financial and/or CR reports. Quality was assessed using scoring methodologies based on KPMG professionals’ view of leading reporting practices. In Part 3, the study presents global CR reporting trends based on reports issued by the top 100 companies in each of the 45 countries.


Key findings on global trends in CR reporting

• Almost three quarters of N100 companies now report on CR. The current rate of CR reporting among the G250 is over 90 percent.
• The quality of CR reporting has improved in Asia Pacific since 2013 but has declined slightly elsewhere. More companies now report on CR in Asia Pacific than in any other region and four emerging economies have the highest CR reporting rates in the world: India, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Africa. The high rates are often driven by regulation, either from governments or stock exchanges.
• Companies are getting better at reporting the environmental and social trends and risks that affect their businesses. Companies in the retail sector have furthest to go, lagging behind all other sectors.
• Including CR data in annual financial reports is now a firmly established global trend. Almost 3 in 5 companies do this now, compared with only 1 in 5 in 2011. The number of companies stating that they produce integrated reports remains low: around 1 in 10.
• Third party independent assurance of CR information is now firmly established as standard practice among G250 companies: almost two thirds invest in assurance. Major accountancy organizations continue to dominate the market for third party assurance among G250 and N100 companies.
• The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) remains the most popular voluntary reporting guideline worldwide but use of GRI has declined among the world’s largest companies.
• There is a lack of consistency in the carbon information that the world’s largest companies publish in their annual financial or CR reports. This makes it almost impossible to accurately compare one company’s carbon performance with another’s.
• Around half (47 percent) of the world’s largest companies do not publish targets for carbon reduction.
• 62 percent of carbon reporters invest in independent assurance, in line with global rates of assurance for other CR information in reporting.


CR reporting trend in Romania

The research on Romania’s top 100 companies by revenue (N100) shows a relatively constant level of the number of those reporting on sustainability, either in a local report or by providing data for a CR Group report, by comparison with the similar study carried out in 2013. The current study, based on data covering either 2013 or 2014 reveals that 68 companies disclose sustainability related information, while the previous survey, which analysed reports issued in 2011 and 2012, had 69 reporting companies.

According to the latest results, 33 companies in the N100 report information on their sustainability performance locally, either as a separate CR report or as a section of the annual report. The remaining 35 companies report only to the Group.


Geta Diaconu, Director, Sustainability Services, KPMG in Romania, concludes: “As the Survey points out, reporting on corporate responsibility has become a standard business practice around the world, with 92% of G250 companies and 73% of the N100 companies from 45 countries included in the study doing it on a regular basis. Romania is still at the beginning of this journey. We have a lot to catch up with, management commitment and sustained effort are needed, but the progress seen in the last few years is encouraging.

Directive no. 95/2014 on the disclosure of non-financial and diversity information will be transposed into Romanian legislation by the end of 2016 and the companies falling under the scope of the Directive will report starting with the financial year 2017. The Directive sets out reporting requirements for large public interest entities whose average number of employees exceeds 500 during the reporting year. These entities are required to report on environmental and social issues, employee rights, their anti-corruption policies as well as on their general respect for human rights.

Hopefully these regulatory requirements will have an impact on both the number and the quality of sustainability reports, contributing to an increase in the transparency of non-financial information. However, a coherent transposition process is critically important for the future development of this type of reporting in Romania.

The use of internationally recognised reporting guidelines or standards is limited among companies operating in Romania that publish sustainability reports and there is still almost no interest in the assurance of the reports. This means that most companies operating in our country do not yet have a strategic approach and a structured sustainability reporting process in place. Through the use of best practices and guidelines and by seeking assurance of the reported data, companies will progress towards relevant, reliable and comparable reports.”