Brazil CSR Reporting: Sixth Largest Economy in World
Brazil is larger than the entire continental United States, contains approximately 20 percent of the world’s biodiversity and encompasses the majority of the Amazon rainforest, a major source of Earth’s oxygen.1 Therefore, it’s not surprising that Brazilians feel concerned about environmental management as well as its social impact.
Brazil’s economy has grown significantly in the past decade and is currently the sixth largest economy in the world.2 A recent poll showed that over 90 percent of Brazilians perceive air pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, and water availability as serious problems, which is nearly 30 percent above the global average.3
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting is a great way for companies to illustrate their achievements and challenges, as well as their support for sustainability. Following the Rio Earth Summit in 2012, Brazil’s main stock exchange, BM&FBOVESPA, officially recommended that all of its listed companies publish CSR reports or explain why they chose not to do so. To help companies prepare their reports, BM&FBOVESPA implemented several training workshops on best practices for CSR disclosure.
By May 2012 over 75 percent of the top 100 BM&FBOVESPA companies had complied with the recommendation.4 This was a significant achievement that added Brazil’s name to the list of leading economies that have introduced similar initiatives (Denmark, France, South Africa, and Sweden). Furthermore, in July 2013 BM&FBOVESPA took additional steps to distinguish Brazil by approving its own Sustainability Policy, consisting of Market, Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance initiatives.5 This will not only improve its own CSR efforts, but will also be a good example for companies traded on its exchange to be more transparent and accountable.
A recent study of 400 leading Brazilian firms demonstrated that nearly half possess a dedicated CSR department.6 Brazil is fourth in the GRI’s disclosure ranking, growing by an average of 88 percent annually.7 Brazilian firms have regularly been included in the Corporate Knights Global 100 list of most sustainable companies. In the 2013 ranking, the Brazilian cosmetics manufacturer Natura was ranked second overall, with four other Brazilian companies in the top 100.8
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1 “Biodiversity in Brazil.” (2012). Secretariat for Social Communication (SECOM) of the Presidency of Brazil.
2 Ranganathan, J. (2013). “Ensuring Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability in Brazil.” WRI Insights.
3 “Environment: 52% of Brazilians Would Pay More for Sustainable Products.” (2013). UOL.
4 “BM&FBOVESPA publishes first “Report or Explain” results.” (2012). BM&FBOVESPA.
5 “Board of Directors Approves BM&FBOVESPA’s Sustainability Policy.” (2013). BM&FBOVESPA.
6 "Pesquisa IBOPE Ambiental.” (2013). IBOPE.
7 “KPMG International Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2011.” (2011). KPMG International Cooperative.
8 Smith, J. (2013). “The World's Most Sustainable Companies.” Forbes.