Corporate social responsibility (CSR)-related disclosure by means of reports is far from being a recent phenomenon; indeed, it can be traced back to the beginning of the twentieth century. However, the issue first gained real prominence in the 1970s as a result of the debate then raging concerning the role of the company in society at a time of rising social expectations and emerging environmental awareness. A growing awareness of CSR is always reflected by an increase in the number of CSR or sustainability reports, as well as in the provision of CSR-related information. CSR is a multidimensional process concerned with the communication of the social and environmental effects of corporationsí economic actions to particular interests within society as well as society at large; this process is achieved largely through information disclosure. CSR-related or corporate social disclosure includes details about environmental, energy, human resources, products and community matters, and can be defined as the provision of non-financial information relating to a corporationís interactions with social and environmental factors as stated in its annual reports or its separate social reports. This information is regarded as a route by which directors are able to discharge their CSR beyond their direct decisions regarding various stakeholders. The growing importance of socially responsible investment and media are converging, and an increasing awareness of companiesí social, ethical and environmental performance calls for greater transparency in reporting.
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