Sustainability reporting disclosure practices among Bangladeshi companies in line with Global Reporting Initiatives

Main Article Content

Sumon Kumar Das
Masum Miah
Md. Rubel Miah
Diljahan Akter
Tanvir Hossain


Research aim: The core objective of this study is to identify the nature and extent of sustainability reporting disclosure practices among Bangladeshi listed companies, in line with global reporting initiatives (GRI).
Design/Methodology/Approach: The content analysis method is used in this study to examine a total of 48 items, consisting of 17 environmental and 31 social disclosure items, in line with GRI. Data were drawn from the published annual reports of a sample of 51 listed companies for the financial year of 2016/2017.
Research findings: On average, 13.73% of the sample companies did not disclose any issue on sustainability reporting. The overall sustainability reporting index of these companies is 10.70% (environmental: 11.42% and social: 10.31%). The level of overall disclosure is low, with the Cement industry focusing on both social (21.18%) and environmental (14.19%) areas, the Textile industry mainly focusing on the environmental (17.06%) area, and the Bank industry mainly focusing on the social (25.16%) area. There is a paucity of disclosure of both social and environmental issues in Food & Allied and Pharmaceuticals & Chemicals industries. Companies are reluctant to disclose issues related to emission, effluent, waste, and compliance under the environmental dimension, and human rights and social performance indicators under the social dimension.
Theoretical contribution/ Originality: Several studies have been conducted on either corporate social reporting or environmental reporting, but there is a dearth of an integrated investigation into the level of sustainability reporting practices in Bangladesh. This study enumerates the sustainability reporting practices in Bangladesh based on the most recognised global non-financial reporting standard, namely GRI.
Practitioner/ Policy implication: With the growing awareness among stakeholders and the initiatives taken by regulators, there might be an increasing trend in sustainability reporting practices. This study is expected to contribute to the introduction of more regulatory requirements for a comprehensive framework on sustainability reporting.
Research limitation: This study focuses on only quantity and not quality in preparing the disclosure index and considers only one period.
Keywords: Social Reporting, Environmental Reporting, Sustainability Reporting, Global Reporting Initiatives, Bangladesh
Type of Manuscript: Research paper
JEL Classification: M14


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Research Paper


Ahmad, A. (2012). Environmental Accounting and reporting practices: significance and issues: A case from Bangladeshi Companies. Global Journal of Management and Business Research, 12(14), 119-127.
Air Quality Index (2019, November 25). Dhaka again ranks worst in Air Quality Index. Dhaka Tribune.
Aman, Z., Ismail, S., & Bakar, N. S. (2015, November 16-17). Corporate sustainability reporting: Malaysian evidence. Proceeding of the 2nd International Conference on Management and Muamalah 2015 (2ndICoMM), Selangor, Malaysia.
Azim, M. I., Ahmed, S., & Islam, M. S. (2009). Corporate social reporting practice: evidence from listed companies in Bangladesh. Journal of Asia-Pacific Business, 10(2), 130-145.
Baiman, S., & Verrecchia, R. E. (1996). The relation among capital markets, financial disclosure, production efficiency, and insider trading. Journal of Accounting Research, 34(1), 1-22.
Banerjee, P. K., Mustafa, M. S., Hossain, M. M., & Ahmed, I. (2017). Sustainability Reporting Practices in Banks of Bangladesh, Research Monograph, No. 31, Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Barkemeyer, R., Preuss, L., & Lee, L. (2015). On the effectiveness of private transnational governance regimes—Evaluating corporate sustainability reporting according to the Global Reporting Initiative. Journal of World Business, 50(2), 312-325. https://10.1016/j.jwb.2014.10.008
Belal A. R. (2007). Absence of corporate social reporting (CSR) in Bangladesh: A research note. Presented in the in the ‘Research Workshop’ at the Aston Business School.
Belal, A. R. (2000). Environmental reporting in developing countries: empirical evidence from Bangladesh. Eco-Management and Auditing: The Journal of Corporate Environmental Management, 7(3), 114-121.<114::AID-EMA131>3.0.CO;2-E
Belal, A. R. (2001). A study of corporate social disclosures in Bangladesh. Managerial Auditing Journal, 16(5), 274-289.
Belal, A. R., & Cooper, S. (2011). The absence of corporate social responsibility reporting in Bangladesh. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 22(7), 654-667.
Belal, A. R., & Owen, D. (2007). The views of corporate managers on the current state of, and future prospects for, social reporting in Bangladesh. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 20(3), 472-494.
Boyko, K., & Derun, I. (2016). Disclosure of non-financial information in corporate social reporting as a strategy for improving management effectiveness. Journal of International Studies, 9(3), 159-177.
Brundtland, G. H. (1987). Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future. Oxford University Press.
Carroll, A. B. (2016). Carroll’s pyramid of CSR: taking another look. International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility, 1(1), 3.
Cho, C. H., & Patten, D. M. (2007). The role of environmental disclosures as tools of legitimacy: A research note. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 32(7-8), 639-647.
Christensen, L., Peirce, E., Hartman, L., Hoffman, W., & Carrier, J. (2007). Ethics, CSR, and Sustainability Education in the Financial Times Top 50 Global Business Schools: Baseline Data and Future Research Directions. Journal of Business Ethics, 73(4), 347-368. https://10.1007/s10551-006-9211-5.
Das, S. (2017). The impact of corporate attributes on the extent of voluntary disclosure and reporting by listed companies in Bangladesh. International Journal of Accounting and Business Finance, 3(1), 12-45. Retrieved from
Dawkins, C., & Ngunjiri, F. W. (2008). Corporate social responsibility reporting in South Africa: A descriptive and comparative analysis. The Journal of Business Communication (1973), 45(3), 286-307.
Dey, P. K., Nakib, M., & Dutta, P. (2017). Climate Change Disclosures in the Annual Reports: Evidence from Bangladesh. Asian Journal of Finance and Accounting, 9(2), 88-102.
Dissanayake, D., Tilt, C., & Qian, W. (2019). Factors influencing sustainability reporting by Sri Lankan companies. Pacific Accounting Review, 31(1), 84-109. https://10.1108/PAR-10-2017-0085
Elkington, J. (2006). Governance for sustainability. Corporate Governance: An International Review, 14(6), 522-529.
Environmental Performance Index. (2018). Environmental Performance Index Results. Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, Center for International Earth Science Information Network Earth Institute, Columbia University, The McCall MacBain, Foundation.
Erdiaw-Kwasie, M., Alam, K., & Shahiduzzaman, M. (2015). Towards Understanding Stakeholder Salience Transition and Relational Approach to ‘Better’ Corporate Social Responsibility: A Case for a Proposed Model in Practice. Journal of Business Ethics, 144(1), 85-101.
Freeman, R., & Reed, D. (1983). Stockholders and Stakeholders: A New Perspective on Corporate Governance. California Management Review, 25(3), 88-106.
Guthrie, J., & Abeysekera, I. (2006). Content analysis of social, environmental reporting: what is new? Journal of Human Resource Costing and Accounting, 10(2), 114-126.
Habib, S. M. A., Ullah, M. S., & Rahman, T. (2011). An Impact Evaluation of Green Initiatives of Bangladesh Bank, Banking Research Series 2011, BIBM, Dhaka.
Halder (2015). Sustainability Reporting and Integrated Reporting. The Cost and Management, 43(5), 51.
Healy, P., & Palepu, K. (2001). Information Asymmetry, Corporate Disclosure and the Capital Markets: A Review of the Empirical Disclosure Literature. Journal of Accounting and Economics, 31(1-3), 405-440.
Hohnen, P. (2012). The future of sustainability reporting. EEDP Programme Paper. Chatham House, London.
Hossain, D. M., Bir, A., Sadiq, A. T., Tarique, K. M., & Momen, A. (2016). Disclosure of green banking issues in the annual reports: a study on Bangladeshi banks. Middle East Journal of Business, 11(1), 19-30.
Hossain, M. M. (2017). Sustainability Report of Financial Services Industry in SAARC Countries: Special Reference to Bangladesh. Independent Business Review, 10(1/2), 144-192.
Hossain, M. M. & Rahman, T. (2013). Green Annual Report of Banks in Bangladesh: Issues and Challenges. Journal of the Institute of Bankers Bangladesh, 60(2), 11-40.
Islam, M., & Chowdhury, M. (2016). Corporate sustainability reporting in the banking sector of Bangladesh: an appraisal of the G4 of the Global Reporting Initiative. International Journal of Green Economics, 10(3/4), 252-278.
Islam, N., & Ahmed, T. (2012). Corporate social and environmental disclosure-an econometric analysis of listed private commercial banks in Bangladesh. Indian Journal of Commerce and Management, 3(3), 59-65.
Jain, R., & Winner, L. H. (2016). CSR and sustainability reporting practices of top companies in India. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 21(1), 36-55.
Khan, H., Azizul Islam, M., Kayeser Fatima, J., & Ahmed, K. (2011). Corporate sustainability reporting of major commercial banks in line with GRI: Bangladesh evidence. Social Responsibility Journal, 7(3), 347-362.
Kohlberg, L. (1981). Essays in moral development: The philosophy of moral development. New York: Harper Row.
Kokubu, A. N., Onishi, Y., Shinabe, T., & Nigashida, A. (2002). An Examination of Corporate Disclosure on Environmental Report Publication and its Quality in Japanese Companies. Kobe University, Japan.
Kolk, A. (2008). Sustainability, accountability and corporate governance: exploring multinationals’ reporting practices. Business Strategy and the Environment, 17(1), 1-15.
Loh, L., Thomas, T., and Wang, Y. (2017). Sustainability reporting and firm value: Evidence from Singapore-listed companies. Sustainability, 9(11), 2112.
Lone, E. J., Ali, A., & Khan, I. (2016). Corporate governance and corporate social responsibility disclosure: evidence from Pakistan. Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society, 16(5), 785-797.
Mahmud, S., Biswas, T., & Islam, N. (2017). Sustainability Reporting Practices and Implications of Banking Sector of Bangladesh according to Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Reporting Framework: An Empirical Evaluation. International Journal of Business and Management Invention, 6(3), 01-14.
Malik, M., Al Mamun, M., & Amin, A. (2018). Peer pressure, CSR spending, and long-term financial performance. Asia-Pacific Journal of Accounting and Economics, 26(3), 241-260.
Masud, M., Bae, S., & Kim, J. (2017). Analysis of environmental accounting and reporting practices of listed banking companies in Bangladesh. Sustainability, 9(10), 1717.
Molla, M. (2019, December 5). Extreme Weather Events: Bangladesh 7th worst-hit nation. The Daily Star, p. 16.
Ness, K., & Mirza, A. (1991). Corporate social disclosure: A note on a test of agency theory. The British Accounting Review, 23(3), 211-217.
Nor, N., Bahari, N., Adnan, N., Kamal, S., & Ali, I. (2016). The Effects of Environmental Disclosure on Financial Performance in Malaysia. Procedia Economics and Finance, 35, 117-126.
Nurunnabi, M. (2016). Who cares about climate change reporting in developing countries? The market response to, and corporate accountability for, climate change in Bangladesh. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 18(1), 157-186.
Orazalin, N., & Mahmood, M. (2019). Determinants of GRI-based sustainability reporting: evidence from an emerging economy. Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies, 10(1), 140-164.
Oyelere, P., Laswad, F., & Fisher, R. (2003). Determinants of Internet Financial Reporting by New Zealand Companies. Journal of International Financial Management and Accounting, 14(1), 26-63.
Pramanik, A., Shil, N., & Das, B. (2008). Corporate Environmental Reporting: An Emerging Issue in the Corporate World. International Journal of Business and Management, 3(12), 146-154.
Rouf, M. A. & Harun M. A. (2011). Ownership structure and voluntary disclosures in annual reports of Bangladesh. Pakistan Journal of Commerce and Social Science, 5(1), 129-139. Retrieved from:
Rowe, A. L. (2007, July 8-10). Corporate environmental reporting: informal institutional Chinese cultural norms. 5th Asian Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting (APIRA) Conference, Auckland, New Zealand.
Rowe, A., & Guthrie, J. (2010). The Chinese Government's Formal Institutional Influence on Corporate Environmental Management. Public Management Review, 12(4), 511-529.
Saha, A. K., Dey, S., & Khan, A. (2013). Corporate social responsibility in Bangladesh: A Comparative study of Commercial Banks of Bangladesh. The Bangladesh Accountant, 69-80.
Shil, N. C., & Iqbal M., (2005). Environmental Disclosure–A Bangladesh Perspective, The Cost and Management, 3, 85-93.
Ullah, M. H., Hossain, M. M., & Yakub, K. M. (2014). Environmental Disclosure Practices in Annual Report of the Listed Textile Industries in Bangladesh. Global Journal of Management and Business Research, 14(1), 97-108.
Ullah, M. H., Yakub, K. M., & Hossain, M. H. (2013). Environmental reporting practices in annual report of selected listed companies in Bangladesh. Research Journal of Finance and Accounting, 4(7), 45-58.
Willis, C. A. (2003). The Role of the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines in the Social Screening of Investments. Journal of Business Ethics, 43(3), 233-237.