by Katarzyna Burger, Research Analyst at GES
On October 12, 2016, I participated in a conference on non-financial reporting which was held at the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) and during which the results of ESG analysis conducted by GES on 483 companies listed on the Main Market were introduced. As in previous editions, the main conclusion we can draw from the results is that corporate social and environmental reporting in Poland remains at a low level. 66 per cent of the analysed companies have failed to report on environmental matters at all or have provided very little information. The disclosure of information in relation to social aspects is even poorer. 73.3 per cent of the companies do not report on these issues or provide scant information. On the contrary, reporting on governance-related matters remains at a high level, with 98.8 per cent of the analysed companies publishing information in this area.
This discrepancy in the level of reporting on ES and CG aspects might be caused by the fact that companies are obliged to comply with the rules and recommendations included in the Code of Best Practice for WSE Listed Companies. Consequently, companies are transparent in their reporting on governance matters. Since no similar regulations exist with regard to environmental and social reporting, companies tend to be much less transparent when disclosing information addressing these aspects.
As in previous editions, the main inconvenience in the analysis process has been the quality of information disclosed by companies. It often happens that reports are scanned and therefore difficult for analysts to search through. Another problematic issue is a lack of information on the date of the last update of websites. As a result, it is hard to verify whether the disclosed information is valid and up to date. It is recommended that companies present information in electronic form, include dates, and use unified terminology to facilitate the identification of key aspects.
On a more positive note, it can be observed that companies are beginning to publish documents such as Code of Conduct, Supplier Code of Conduct or CSR Report. Therefore, it might be assumed that reporting on environmental and social aspects is likely to improve with time.