Title: Measuring quality of sustainability reports and assurance statements: characteristics of the high quality reporting companies

Authors: Belén Fernández-Feijóo-Souto; Silvia Romero; Silvia Ruiz-Blanco

Addresses: Department of Finance and Accounting, Universidade de Vigo, Lagoas Marcosende s/n. 36310 Vigo, Spain. ' Department of Accounting, Law and Taxation, Montclair State University, 1 Normal Av., Montclair, NJ 08540, USA. ' Department of Finance and Accounting, Universidade de Vigo, Lagoas Marcosende s/n. 36310 Vigo, Spain

Abstract: The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) can be considered as one of the most extensively used model of corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting. The assurance statement (AS) is the mechanism to give trust to stakeholders about the accuracy of the information published in the sustainability reports (SRs). Within this backdrop, the objective of this paper is to design a model to evaluate the quality of the SR and AS of the Spanish companies that present SR using the GRI guide for the year 2008, as well as the characteristics of the companies that present high quality reports. We find that auditors issue higher quality AS than consultants, and that measures indicating size (size, listed companies, Big4 auditor) are associated with the quality of AS reports. Finally, we find that variables related to the industry of the company (sector, size, leverage) are associated with the quality of the SR report.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility; CSR; sustainability reports; assurance statements; social audits; Spain; sustainable development; quality measurement; high quality companies; reporting companies; Global Reporting Initiative; GRI; trust; stakeholders; information accuracy; consultants; measures; company size; listed companies; Big Four; auditors; audit firms; PwC; PricewaterhouseCoopers; Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu; Ernst & Young; KPMG; variables; industry sectors; leverage; society; systems science; economic recovery; economics; opportunities; challenges.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSSS.2012.045371

International Journal of Society Systems Science, 2012 Vol.4 No.1, pp.5 - 27

Available online: 06 Feb 2012 *

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