Bankers hållbarhetsredovisning och innehållets relevans för deras intressenter : en fallstudie på företag inom banksektorn

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Economics

Abstract: Recently, a new directive on sustainability reporting has been introduced in the European Union, which states that all major companies within the union are required to establish a sustainability report for the public. One reason for this is that stakeholders in society demand transparency and openness in sustainability issues that concern the social and environmental impact of corporations. The financial sector has historically been worse in reporting their impact than other industries due to the complexity to trace their investments and lendings effect on climate and social factors. Many stakeholders are seeking transparency and information that is not included in the legal requirement, which means that many companies, including banks, choose to disclose more non-financial information in their sustainability reports than is required by law. The purpose of this study is therefore to investigate which of the drivers contribute to voluntarily report more information than mandatory, what kind of information stakeholders expect and what challenges the financial sector has to meet stakeholder expectations. To give the reader an understanding of the background of sustainability reporting and the new legislation relevant theories are presented. In order to fulfill the purpose of the study, a qualitative research method is assumed in which semi-structured interviews were conducted with sustainability experts and managers from three different banks (Nordea, Länsförsäkringar & Ikano Bank). There are also interviews with two representatives from two different stakeholder groups, an investor and a non-governmental organisation (NGO). The organization is specifically focused in banks sustainability work so that they can investigate what kind of sustainability information they request. The collected data is derived from the answers respondents stated based in an interview guide. The study's results show that banks report more non-financial information than mandatory to create legitimacy by being transparent to its stakeholders. Banks, however, find it difficult to meet stakeholders' demand for information that is not covered by the legal requirement in terms of quantified sustainability data that measures their business's climate and social impact. The stakeholders believe the reports are mostly an abundance of text and storytelling. Investors and NGO:s are more interested in quantified data, sustainability goals and follow-up and results of these goals. The result also shows that there is no homogeneous structure for how the financial sector should report its sustainability work, which may suggest that there is no collaboration between the banks in how to best express their indirect impact. Since a sustainable and longterm development lies in the interests of both banks and stakeholders, such collaboration would benefit society as a whole.

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