Sunday, March 13, 2011
New York Stock Exchange Listing Standards and Corporate Social Responsibility, by Celia Taylor, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, was recently posted on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Rules and regulations governing the disclosure of corporate social responsibility policies and practices in the US lag behind that of other countries. While countries such as Sweden, France, the UK and others have mandated the disclosure of corporate social responsibility data, efforts in the US are piecemeal and incomplete. To the extent that any CSR disclosure is required, it is often difficult to discern, assemble and interpret.
While many companies formed or operating in the US follow solid CSR practices, in the main they do so voluntarily as there are few, if any, rules that affirmatively require firms to make disclosures of non-financial social and environmental information. The limited attention paid to CSR under US law means that foreign companies seeking access to US markets generally will not face serious impediments in terms of regulations regarding CSR. This short work briefly describes the listing standards of the New York Stock Exchange-Euronext ("NYSE") to determine the impact of those standards on CSR disclosure applicable to foreign private issuers ("FPIs"). It is not a comprehensive review of all of the NYSE listing standard. It demonstrates that NYSE listing standards permit but do not require that companies follow any particular CSR practices or policies. Thus, FPIs that wish to list on the NYSE need not make any significant CSR disclosure although they are permitted to do so if they wish.