Line of Inquiry: Hans B. Christensen on standardizing CSR reporting

Dec 13, 2019

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US companies get little direction from the federal government about what they should tell investors, or the general public, about their CSR activities—their impact on the environment, for instance, or their worker-safety records. Most CSR reporting is voluntary, and the medium and contents of those reports is therefore up to the discretion of the companies themselves, which makes comparing one company's CSR practices to another’s very difficult. Chicago Booth’s Hans B. Christensen says that standardizing CSR reporting could have benefits for investors, companies, and society—but creating and enforcing reporting standards would involve surmounting significant obstacles, including defining what CSR information is required and creating a regulatory authority with the expertise to evaluate the information companies provide.

Hans B. Christensen, Luzi Hail, and Christian Leuz, “Adoption of CSR and Sustainability Reporting Standards: Economic Analysis and Review,” Working paper, July 2019.