The purpose of this paper is to construct the social and environmental disclosure index for Indian companies in order to examine the relationship between social and environmental disclosure and select corporate attributes.
The sample covers annual reports of companies for financial year 2011-2012. The sample represents both financial and non-financial companies that constitute Nifty 50 Index companies as on March 31, 2012. The actual size of the sample analyzed represented 41 companies. The unweighted disclosure index approach has been used to measure the extent of disclosure of social and environmental information where an item scores 1 if disclosed and 0 if not disclosed. The authors built a model using regression which indicates the variables that are significant in determining the social and environmental disclosure of a company. The regression model can be used to predict the degree of disclosure of a company given the values of explanatory variables. Content analysis from annual reports of the companies has been used in constructing the dependent variable.
Regression results indicate that location (place where the registered office of company is located), number of operations of company, turnover, sales and administration expenses, age of company, employee cost and interest paid by company are significant in determining the disclosure index of the company.
Sample size can be increased by considering more companies. In addition, a longitudinal study would enable in drawing comparison over a period of time with respect to disclosure index. The increased sample size would help in validating the disclosure score by dividing the data set into two: one as observation window and the other as validation window.The model explains 23 percent variation in disclosure index. More variation may be explained by incorporating more explanatory variables in the model.
The authors indicate the level of disclosure in case of Indian companies which may prove to be an indicator for prospective investors especially in the present era of global financial and economic downturn. The paper may assist the regulators in framing policies regarding corporate governance. This will enable the regulators of corporate sector to frame laws in order to predict the degree of disclosure of a company based on certain explanatory variables.
The authors focus especially on Indian companies for constructing the disclosure index which to the best of knowledge has not been attempted till date.