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Cos, shareholders lukewarm to e-initiative

Priya Sheth Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018

Most not opting for annual reports thru e-mails





Over 60 per cent of Indian companies are still sending hard bound, printed copies of their annual reports to shareholders, said Mr Melwyn Fernandes, Managing Director, SAP Print Solutions, which prints and distributes annual reports of over a hundred companies.

“We have 800 companies registered with us but only 150 companies have asked us to send consent mails to shareholders. We have already sent out annual reports of 15-20 companies where the consent process is over,” said Mr Pankaj Jain Thomare, Officer, Link Intime India, an RTA (Register and Transfer agent). A RTA is assigned a task by a company to seek consent from shareholders to send annual reports by email. It then sends the annual reports to registered shareholders.

“Companies have not taken this green initiative in the true spirit. Many want to stick to their tried and tested way of sending annual reports. If companies adopt a proper process, in three to four months they will be ready to support the e-initiative,” said Mr Fernandes. As printing and distribution costs are not too much for small companies, they prefer to printing all the annual reports, he added.

Green & Cost-saving

According industry prices, the printing and distribution cost of one annual report is anywhere between Rs 30-50, depending on the number of pages and graphics. Not only can companies achieve the ‘go green' initiative, but can also save around 70 percent of their costs, according to estimates.

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs recently took a green initiative in corporate governance whereby companies can send annual reports by e-mail to shareholders instead of printing it.

“First of all, we e-mail all the shareholders of the company concerned who have registered with us. We wait for 15-20 days for the reply and then send the annual report by the preferred mode. Unfortunately, hardly any of the shareholders reply to the e-mails. In that case we assume the answer to be yes and e-mail the copy,” said Mr Thomare.

Difficulties

However, there seems to be a problem with e-annual reports too. Many annual reports which have been sent by e-mail are difficult to open. Companies should first check the e-version of the report and then apply this new initiative. At this rate, we don't get to see the annual report at all, complained a shareholder.

While companies who have opted to implement the green initiatives are happy to share their views, the non-complying companies are not willing to comment.

“We will be sending out the annual reports through e-mail to our shareholders. A little over half of our 4.5 lakh shareholders have registered e-mail addresses. We will also be printing a few copies of the annual report for shareholders who are not tech savvy,” said a Bharti spokesperson

HDFC Bank has also e-mailed their annual reports to their shareholders this year and saved a huge amount of money.

“It is a great initiative taken by companies to send annual reports by e-mail as it saves on a lot of paper wastage. More companies should embrace this initiative,” said Mr Abhishek Pratap, Campaigner, Greenpeace.

Published on June 24, 2011

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