Posts Tagged ‘reporting’
By Katja Blomé
At the time of writing, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is about to launch its “fourth generation of sustainability reporting guidelines”; G4. GRI is one of the most widely recognized and respected frameworks for corporate social responsibility and many large organizations use it to demonstrate their commitment to CSR. GRI aims to stay up to date with, and map out, the route for the ever-changing and evolving business environment of the 21st century. The guidelines have been modified on a regular basis since the first version was launched in 2000. Using GRI to report on corporate sustainability has always been a choice – not an obligation. The voluntary nature of these kinds of frameworks has been questioned before, and the launch of G4 once again raises the topic. I argue that now is a good time for Sweden to make sustainability reporting mandatory…again.
Sabrina Vetters concluded, in her blog from September 2012, that a mandatory approach to corporate responsibility would have a positive impact. She noted the need for an effective implementation mechanism and assessment of a number of questions regarding the implementation of such a system. Sure enough, making companies legally abide to social and environmental issues would most certainly demand a major change of the system. But.. wait a minute. Haven’t we done this before?
Environmental law has been firmly manifested in Sweden since 1999, when the major guidelines were reassessed, altered and reinforced. Today, pretty much all activity that has any impact on the environment is regulated. Much of the regulation applies to companies, as they constitute the main producing facilities and thus, the major polluters. Corporations are obliged to set up systems and routines that monitor their operations, and are scrutinized to controls regularly by the local authorities. The result is a, globally speaking, quite impressive system where the damaging activities are visible, measured and controlled. The strong enforcement of environmental law has created a large demand on expertise and most universities now offer programmes on environmental subjects. All larger producing corporations have at least one person working full-time with environmental matters. Could not social, economic and governance sustainability be regulated?
Law enforcement is a controversial topic that raises classical dilemmas such as that of the involvement of the state. This is a source of debate in any country. What can be said for Sweden is that the state is strong enough to exercise this kind of control. A large number of states are too weak and the governments simply don’t have enough power capital to put any kind of pressure on national or international corporations. If the government decided to put more pressure on corporations, Sweden would risk losing short term business. In the long term, however, the country would reaffirm its position as a world leader in sustainability matters. We should, like GRI, aim to stay up to date with, and map out, other countries’ sustainability work. Making G4 reporting mandatory to all corporations would be a first step in this direction.
CSR Research Digest – March 2013
Communications agency Radley Yeldar has released a report revealing the top sustainability reporters. This year’s study analyzes corporate sustainability reports from 35 of Europe’s best sustainability reporters drawn from the FTSE Eurotop 100 index. This year’s study analyzes corporate sustainability reports from 35 of Europe’s best sustainability reporters drawn from the FTSE Eurotop 100 index.
- Mining group Anglo American, energy company Centrica and finance group HSBC Holdings have been named the European companies with the year’s best records of sustainability reporting.
- The top five European reporters are rounded out with drinks company Diageo and technology firm Siemens.
- The best sustainability reports show how sustainability is making a tangible difference to the business and detail “the good, the bad and the ugly” side of a company’s sustainability efforts.
- Good reports also display information in a clear and concise manner and back narrative claims with evidence, letting sustainability data speak for itself.
- The best reporters are “saying more with less”.
- Sustainability reporting has reached a crossroads, both as a piece of communication and a management tool.
- But in a year marked by high-profile ethical blunders and corporate scandals, the role of the sustainability report has been brought into question.
- While crucial narratives are being obscured by box ticking and standard disclosures, the wider use of Global Reporting Initiative guidelines and other external assurances is encouraging.
CSR Research Digest – January 2013
The report tracks the behavioral changes during the first year of the IIRC’s pilot program initiative which aims to help develop an International Integrated Reporting Framework. The pilot program involves more than 80 private and public companies such as Volvo Group, Danone and Microsoft, and 25 institutional investors.
- Almost 93 percent of businesses say integrated reporting breaks down barriers between teams and leads to better connected departments.
- 98 percent agreed that the shift towards integrated reporting leads to a better understanding of how the organization will create value over time.
- 74 percent agreed that it will lead to more consistency in external communications.
- 93 percent agreed that it leads to better quality data collection.
- 64 percent say analysts will benefit significantly from integrated reporting in future.
- 95 percent say employees will benefit from it in the future.
- 28 percent report they are already seeing significant benefit to the board from integrated reporting and 56 percent expect to see significant benefit to the board in future.
- 97 percent expect a positive benefit overall to the board in the future.
Black Sun and International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC)