Transparency of agriculture companies: rationale of responsible investment for better decision making under sustainability

Keywords: sustainability, transparency, agriculture, investment.


Purpose. The purpose of the article – to explore transparency under sustainability among agricultural companies in Ukraine (company “Kernel”) and the Czech Republic (company “Agrofert”) with further recommendations and implications related to reporting.

Methodology / approach. Qualitative estimations of sustainability transparency are based on Sustainability Transparency Index (STI) calculations. Methodology of this index is based on binary estimations of a number of transparency criterions including links to sustainability information; existence of sustainable development policy; availability of sustainability and SDG reports; disclosure according to ESG criteria and specifics SDGs as well as other relevant goals related to SDG and sustainable development.

Results. Sustainability transparency from 2016 till 2019 in Agrofert and Kernel was almost the same. But since 2019 after Kernel introduced a number of steps to increase its transparency the situation has changed dramatically. STI index has increased from 32 in 2019 to 80 in 2021. STI values for Agrofert were unchanged in 2020 (the latest available period of analysis). As a result, Kernel’s financial results and indicators have demonstrated significant improvement both absolute and relative. For example, net profit increased by more than 1000 %, investment cash-flow by 100 %, ROE – by 500 % and ROIC by 140 %.

Originality / scientific novelty. New empirical results based on qualitative estimations of sustainability transparency for the agriculture companies from different countries are provided. Current study covers the existing research gap, proved by bibliometric analysis tool, for instance in pure academic discussion in measurement, comparison and benchmarking of agricultural companies’ transparency for the responsible investment purpose. Recommendations for sustainability transparency improvement are proposed. They are intended on better perception of sustainability ideology and incorporation of ESG/SDG criterion by agriculture companies in Ukraine and especially Czech Republic, levelling the informational asymmetry and moral risks for their investors and create better investment rationale for decision making under sustainability.

Practical value / implications. The most efficient steps include the following ones: development and implementation of sustainability policy; emergence of specific reports based on ESG criteria; implementation of SDGs in activity of the company with further prioritization of these criteria within two groups. Further study in this field might be devoted to sustainability transparency comparison for agriculture companies in different branch in Ukraine and Czech Republic. Spreading the scope and sample of research allows making cross-industries STI benchmarking analysis.


1. Abdullah, M., Hamzah, N., Ali, M. H., Tseng, M., & Brander, M. (2020). The southeast Asian haze: the quality of environmental disclosures and firm performance. Journal of Cleaner Production, 246, 118958.
2. AccountAbility (2015). AA1000 Stakeholder Engagement Standard 2015. Available at:
3. Brin, P. & Nehme, M. (2021). Sustainable development in emerging economy: using the analytical hierarchy process for corporate social responsibility decision making. Journal of Information Technology Management, 13, 159–174.
4. Cole, R., Stevenson, M., & Aitken, J. (2019). Blockchain technology: Implications for operations and supply chain management. Supply Chain Management, 24(4), 469–483.
5. CSR Ukraine (2020). The contribution of Ukrainian business to the implementation of Ukraine’s Sustainable Development Goals 2016–2020. Available at:
6. Directive 2014/95/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 amending Directive 2013/34/EU as regards disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large undertakings and group. Available at:
7. Docekalova, M., & Kocmanova, A. (2015). Evaluation of the effectiveness of manufacturing companies by financial and non-financial indicators. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 213, 4901–496.
8. Dočekalová, M., Pavláková, M., Kocmanová, A., Šimberová, I., & Koleňák, J. (2018). Modelling of social key performance indicators of corporate sustainability performance. Acta Universitatis Agriculturae et Silviculturae Mendelianae Brunensis, 66(1), 303–312.
9. FAO (n.d.), Food and Agriculture Business Principles. Available at:
10. Francisco, K., & Swanson, D. (2018). The supply chain has no clothes: technology adoption of blockchain for supply chain transparency. Logistics, 2(1), 2.
11. OECD (2015), G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance, OECD Publishing, Paris.
12. Gardnera, T. A., Benziea, M., Börnerb, J., Dawkinsa, E., Ficka, S., Garrettc, R. … & Wolvekampm, P. (2019). Transparency and sustainability in global commodity supply chains. World Development, 121, 163–177,
13. Gisladottir, J., Sigurgeirsdottir, S., Ragnarsdóttir, K. V., & Stjernquist, I. (2021). Economies of scale and perceived corruption in natural resource management: a comparative study between Ukraine, Romania, and Iceland. Sustainability, 13(13), 7363.
14. Global Reporting Initiative G3.1. Sustainability Reporting Guidelines (2011). Available at:
15. Kamble, S. S., & Gunasekaran, A., & Gawankar, S. A. (2020). Achieving sustainable performance in a data-driven agriculture supply chain: a review for research and applications. International Journal of Production Economics, 219, 179–194.
16. Kernel (2021). Kernel annual report. Available at:
17. Koberg, E., & Longoni, А. (2019). A systematic review of sustainable supply chain management in global supply chains. Journal of Cleaner Production, 207, 1084–1098.
18. Krechovská, M., & Tausl Prochazkova, P. (2014). Sustainability and its integration into corporate governance focusing on corporate performance management and reporting. Procedia Engineering, 69, 1144–1151. https://10.1016/j.proeng.2014.03.103.
19. Latifundist (2022). Top 100 Latifundist in Ukraine. Available at:
20. MSCI Investment Insights (2021) Global Institutional Investor survey. Available at:
21. Pandey, V., Pant, M., & Snasel, V. (2022). Blockchain technology in food supply chains: review and bibliometric analysis. Technology in Society, 69, 101954.
22. Sachs, J., Schmidt-Traub, G., Kroll, C., Lafortune, G., Fuller, G., Woelm, F. (2020). Sustainable Development Report 2020. The sustainable development goals and COVID-19. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Available at:
23. SAFA (2014). Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture systems guidelines. Version 3.0. Available at:
24. Santos, J. A. D., Moura-Leite, R., Pereira, M. W. G., & Pagán, M. (2021). Social and environmental disclosure of the largest companies in Brazil’s agribusiness sector. Social Responsibility Journal, 17(8), 1009–1027. https://10.1108/SRJ-01-2019-0009.
25. SDG (2017). Sustainable Development Goals in Ukraine. Available at:
26. Sukhonos, V., Makarenko, I., Serpeninova, Y., & Qasimova, G. (2018). Classification and prioritization of stakeholders’ information requests according to Sustainable Development Goals: case of cross-sector partnership in Ukrainian food production industry. Problems and Perspectives in Management, 16(4), 126–140.
27. Sunderji, S., Bass, R., Hand, D., & Nova, N. (2020). Understanding impact performance: agriculture investments. Global Impact Investing Network. Available at:
28. UN Global Compact (2021). UN Global Compact Participants. Available at:
29. UNCTAD (2016). Enhancing the role of reporting in attaining the sustainable development goals: integration of environmental, social and governance information into company reporting. Available at:
30. UNCTAD (2020). International SDGs investment flows to developing economies down by one third due to COVID-19. Available at:
31. UNCTAD (2015). Investment policy framework. For sustainable development. Available at:
32. Vasyl’eva, Т. А., Leonov, S. V., & Makarenko, I. O. (22017). Мodern methodical approaches to the evaluation of corporate reporting transparency. Scientific Bulletin of Polissia, 1(9), part 2, 185–190. https://10.25140/2410-9576-2017-2-1(9)-185-190.
How to Cite
Makarenko, I., Plastun, A., MazancovаJ., Juhaszova, Z., & Brin, P. (2022). Transparency of agriculture companies: rationale of responsible investment for better decision making under sustainability. Agricultural and Resource Economics: International Scientific E-Journal, 8(2), 50-66.