Danish businesses are free to choose whether or not they wish to implement Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as part of their corporate strategy. However, there is a statutory requirement from 2009 that large businesses in Denmark must include and take a stand on CSR in their annual reports. On December 16th 2009, the Danish Parliament adopted the proposed "Act amending the Danish Financial Statements Act (Accounting for CSR in large businesses)". The aim of this act is to inspire corporations to take an active position towards social responsibility and be able to communicate this, internally and externally. The constitutional requirement is part of the Danish Government's action plan for CSR and the intention is to help improve the international competitiveness within Danish trade and industry. This legal provision is not traditional, in the sense that Danish companies to some degree still can decide whether or not, they wish to include CSR in their annual reports. This is an issue that draws both negative and positive attention. As CSR is a concept with different approaches, the act has prescribed that companies are allowed to individually define what CSR means to them. Even though the act has not created a common CSR concept, it has given a lot of companies an incentive to include CSR in their annual reports. Not focusing on CSR can potentially result in unfavorable attention and a bad reputation for the companies. Therefore the act is a legal motivation. This includes the companies which are direct subjects to the act, as well as the companies which are indirectly affected by the law. Although there have been violations of the law, there is no sanctions which indicates the consequences of doing so. The Danish Commerce and Companies Agency have announced that future violations of the law will result in financial sanctions. Equally, subcontractors have to pay attention to the indirect effects of the law, and if the subcontractor violates the Code of Conduct in a contract, it can be a requirement to pay compensation. Furthermore companies have an economic motivation regarding their CSR report. Stakeholder-, legitimacy- and institutional theory indicate reasons why a corporation would be interested in creating a CSR report. It is both to satisfy stakeholders and the pressure from the society that motivates companies to have a CSR report. When using economic theory, it can be discussed, if the statutory provision is necessary and whether or not such a provision motivates companies to create CSR reports. As the legislation is only two years old, many companies have yet to figure out how to create a proper CSR report. A proper report will mainly draw positive attention. At the current stage it can be argued, that soft law regulation would be more suitable for the majority of the companies. However, in the long run there is a possibility that the conclusion could be different.
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