The purpose of our paper is the construction of a multidimensional ethical rating model, based on many items that represent the most significant Corporate Social Responsibility drivers of the banks. The items considered have been drawn from literature and from corporate reporting and websites of banks and then subjected to content analysis. The model, applied to a sample of European banks, was divided into four areas of analysis (Disclosure; Organization and Management; Offer of Socially Responsible Instruments; International Agreements, Certifications and Indexes) to identify the most frequent ethical conducts and the ones that require improvement measures. Our research highlights that banks pay more attention to the offer of socially responsible instruments and organization and management issues. On the contrary, the banks examined could enhance their socially responsible approach by reinforcing disclosure on Corporate Social Responsibility. In particular, there is a modest orientation towards disclosure on the basis of the triple bottom-line approach. Finally, as for international agreements, certifications and indexes, improvement actions are still needed: there are still many international principles which have not yet been adhered to and an increase in requests for more ethical/quality certifications and inclusion in reputational ratings would be desirable.
Keywords: Corporate social responsibility, Ethical rating, European banks, Sustainability, Environmental, social and governance performance