Italy Towards Mandatory Sustainability Reporting. Voluntary Corporate Social Responsibility Disclosure of Italian Companies and Legislative Decree 254/2016 Statements. A Quantitative Analysis of the Last 10 Years
Sustainability and Law, Forthcoming
18 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2020
Date Written: July 8, 2020
Corporate Social Responsibility Disclosure (CSRD) is crucial in providing transparent and reliable information. Company characteristics play a key role in CSRD, but legislation is important and positive in increasing the number of companies, which make complete and transparent sustainability disclosure and stimulating CSR initiatives. In 2016, for the first time, Italian Legislative Decree 254/2016 requires ‘public interest entities’, to integrate statutory financial statements with disclosure of environmental, social and governance strategies from financial year 2017 onwards. This chapter investigates the role of company characteristics in influencing voluntary disclosure. The analysis focused on voluntary CSRD (2007–2016) implemented by Italian listed companies in the 10-year period, and shows that in a non-mandatory context the number of CSR reports published grew steadily. It reveals the voluntary behavior of Italian companies, compliance with the requirements of the Decree with reference to the different dimensions of sustainability, and to the use of international standards and guidelines. Findings show also a marked increase of the number of companies, which, in 2017, produced a non-financial report after the entry into force of the new law. The strength of this work is that it investigates what happened in the decade preceding the introduction of the new law tracing the relationship between historical situation, business characteristics and the requirements of the legislative decree. These results and the immediate impact of the new regulation are interestingly linked to the relationship between law and sustainable development and will be directly and indirectly useful for scholars, managers and national and international regulators.
Keywords: Voluntary disclosure, Non-financial information, Reporting standards, Corporate website, Industry, Legislative Decree No. 254/2016, Directive 2014/95/EU
JEL Classification: M14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation