Coro’s Blog: On Purpose

Help make CSR disclosure law

Published on March 9, 2014

The Canadian government is currently conducting consultation on the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) – they are seeking submissions until May 15, 2014. I have drafted a submission focused on CSR reporting and would like your input.

CBCA Governance Review – Background

The CBCA provides the legal and regulatory corporate governance framework for nearly 235,000 federally incorporated businesses. This statutory review happens every five years or so. In Canada, corporations have the option of incorporating at either the federal or the provincial level and the CBCA operates in parallel with the corporate laws of the provinces and territories.

Why it matters

A number of CSR issues are included in the review, including:

  • rules applicable to the incorporation of socially responsible enterprises
  • the role of corporate governance legislation in preventing bribery and corruption
  • board and management diversity
  • the role of corporate social responsibility

These are all very important topics and I’m glad to see the federal government is raising them. As I noted above, I have drafted a submission focused on CSR reporting.

International reporting guidelines have been in existence since 2000, taking the guesswork out of what to report. A number of leading jurisdictions, such as France and the UK, require companies to disclose their social and environmental performance. Investors, consumers and other stakeholders need this information to make investing and purchasing decisions. It’s time for Canada’s corporate regulations to embed CSR disclosure requirements in law.

Why mandated CSR reporting

Some might argue that CSR reporting should be left voluntary.  However, a recent Accenture-UN survey of 1,000 CEOs reveals that “83 percent believe that government policymaking and regulation will be critical in harnessing sustainability as a transformative force”, and that 55 percent seek regulation and standards and only 21 percent of CEOS prefer voluntary measures. So, as I argue in my submission, the time has come to enshrine mandated CSR reporting in company law.

What you can do

Help governments and corporations get serious about harnessing sustainability as a transformative force. Read my draft submission and provide your feedback on how to strengthen it. Send in your own submission – and if you are on Twitter, use the hashtag #CBCAcsr to share your ideas and encourage others to participate.

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