Ssustainability Reporting in European Cooperative Banks: An Exploratory Analysis.

Autores UPV


Cooperative banks, as a social economy institution, have a special relationship with sustainability. Given the lack of previous studies, we aim to develop an exploratory analysis on sustainability reporting in European cooperative banks. On one hand, we studied the sustainability reporting evolution to know whether the crisis influenced on this practice. On the other hand, we compared cooperative reports with banks' reports. Moreover, we analysed the sustainability reports content to know what information is disclosed by cooperative banks. The results show that although the number of cooperative banks' reports is low, it responds to the weight in the European market. They also illustrate the late incorporation of cooperative banks into sustainability reporting (consequence of their conservative nature). We cannot conclude that differences between banks and cooperative banks were significant, but -in relation to private banks- cooperatives stand out in the use of latest standards, integrated reporting and best application levels. Regarding to the content of sustainability reports, cooperative banks provide more social issues than economic or environmental issues. In the current situation, disclosing information about sustainability would help to reinforce the stakeholders' trust.