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Sustainability reporting practices and their social impact to NGO funding in Italy

Gazzola, P and Amelio, S and Papagiannis, F and Michaelides, Z (2019) Sustainability reporting practices and their social impact to NGO funding in Italy. Critical Perspectives on Accounting. ISSN 1045-2354

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Abstract

© 2019 Elsevier Ltd This study analyses the growing social trends of sustainability reporting practices in non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Taking a preliminary step toward NGO funding, we consider the current lack of information disclosure in existing reporting practices, which are diverse and unsustainable. We investigate key organisational information in order to discover any potential links between funding sources and disclosure practices. In Italy, today there is an on-going effort to encourage public engagement in civil society. A percentage-tax law allows taxpayers to dedicate ‘cinque per mille’ (one-half percent)of their income to NGOs, which is then deducted from their tax obligation (Hereafter, ‘5 per thousand’). Our primary research objective is to understand if there is a link between the ‘5 per thousand’ donations that NGOs receive for providing social impact, and their reporting practices. Therefore, we critically analyse if and how sustainable reporting practices are achieved within the top 100 most funded NGOs that receive the ‘5 per thousand’ donation. We examine public data from official government records published by the Italian Revenue Agency. The findings suggest that sustainability reporting offers a number of financial and social advantages, including social impact that builds trust towards the idea of civil society and its funders.

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