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School of Business | Department of Management and International Business | International Business | 2014
Thesis number: 13532
National and industry trends in GRI based CSR reporting: Case study of eight Finnish and American companies
Author: Kylliäinen, Jukka
Title: National and industry trends in GRI based CSR reporting: Case study of eight Finnish and American companies
Year: 2014  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management and International Business
Academic subject: International Business
Index terms: kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; raportit; reports; kansainvälinen; international; yhteiskuntavastuu; corporate responsibility; trendit; economic trends
Pages: 82
Key terms: corporate responsibility; csr reporting; social indicator; global reporting initiative
Objectives of the study:

The study aims at determining if there are national or industry specific practices in the way companies report CSR activities. Analyzing eight CSR reports that firms claim to follow the Global Reporting Initiative's guidelines to see if there are trends and similarities in the way firms in certain industries or countries adhere to these voluntary guidelines. Using GRI standardized reports gives a framework against which the analysis can be made, but as it is voluntary and not third party audited the firms have enough freedom to be able to follow potential national or industry practices.


The chosen method was to use qualitative content analysis as it provided the most suitable tool for evaluating large CSR reports which often do not rely fully on quantitative measures. Also the GRI indicators tend to be more geared to qualitative directions instead of asking only for numbers. The decision was made to focus only on publicly available reports by the case companies as the goal of the study was to look at how the companies communicated to the public and to which degree it followed the GRI guidelines. Eight case companies were selected so that there was equal representation of two case countries, USA and Finland, as well as four case industries - airline, paper and pulp, retail, and financial industry. The case companies were chosen so that they all state that in their report they follow the global GRI standards and guidelines. This was done so as to have a common framework against which to evaluate the reports.

Findings and Conclusion:

Overall the study concludes that there are visible national trends that can be identified. These are more or less in line with how literature defines CSR in these national contexts. In terms of industry context trends were identifiable but less consistent and numerous than in national context. Certain industries seemed to exhibit stronger trends whereas others had very few weaker similarities and coincidence could not be ruled out based on this study.
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