CSR communication on corporate websites compared across continents
This paper evaluates how the 106 largest banks in the world use their corporate websites for CSR communication, identifying CSR communication patterns by continent.
An analysis of the location of CSR information on the banks’ corporate websites, a longitudinal analysis of the publication of CSR reports by the banks from 2000 to 2012, and a content analysis of the most current CSR reports in the recent period of study were undertaken.
Three-quarters of the banks communicate on CSR issues on their corporate website – either located in the section ‘About Us’ or under a separate ‘CSR’ heading which is directly accessible on the front homepage. Company reports published on the website are the most important vehicle for CSR communication. Their publication increased from 6 for the publication year 2000 to a peak of 63 reports for the year 2011. The reports’ titles are most commonly linked to the concepts of ‘responsibility’ or ‘sustainability’ and refer to 10 main stakeholders and topics. In a comparison between continents there is a difference in the use of titles: European banks prefer the title ‘Sustainability Report’, while Asian and American banks in particular prefer the title ‘CSR Report’.
The paper focuses on corporate communications, and therefore does not address perspectives on CSR communication from other disciplines. Within CSR communication, sources of CSR related information other than the corporate websites have not been considered.
This paper gives the first comprehensive picture of the trend in CSR communication on corporate websites (CSRccw) in the global banking sector.