Corporate Social Responsibility Disclosures During the Global Financial Crisis: New Zealand evidence

Sydelle Pinto, Associate PWC, New Zealand
Charl De Villiers, The University of Waikato and University of Pretoria
Grant Samkin, The University of Waikato and University of South Africa

Abstract: This study investigates trends in the prevalence and volume of corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosure by New Zealand’s top 50 listed companies from 2005 to 2010, i.e., the period running up to and immediately after the initial impact of the global financial crisis (GFC). The annual reports and standalone CSR reports of each of the companies for years 2005 to 2010 were examined. The numbers of pages relating to social and environmental disclosures in the annual and the standalone reports for each year were counted, and this data was used to assess whether overall trends could be discerned. CSR disclosure trends were also compared with changes in business confidence. The results reveal a general upward trend in CSR disclosures over the six-year period. Companies operating within industries more prone to public scrutiny or those industries more sensitive to the social and environmental impacts of corporate operations, increased their CSR disclosures, whereas other companies decreased their disclosures.