CorporateRegister.com, which hosts and manages the global online directory of corporate responsibility (CR) reports, today released its annual free CR Perspectives report, combining data, insight and opinion to reveal how global CR reporting has developed and where it might be headed.
Sponsored by Coca-Cola Enterprises, Novo Nordisk, Shell and the Co-operative Group, CR Perspectives 2013 — Global CR Reporting Trends and Stakeholder Views looks at global CR reporting based on statistics derived from the world’s largest CR reporting database (52,000 reports); and stakeholder views based on the inaugural CR Perspectives online survey, eliciting 300 participants' views on context, content, communication and credibility of CR reporting.
“Every year CorporateRegister.com provides data on global CR reporting — what’s happening, who is reporting, what the issues are regarding report content, frameworks and assurance,” said Paul Scott, Managing Director at CorporateRegister.com. “CR Perspectives combines our authoritative data with a comprehensive opinion survey, giving a unique insight into the current state of global CR reporting.”
Cora Olsen, ESG Data Manager, Global Stakeholder Engagement at Novo Nordisk AS said: “Corporate Register’s report is comprehensive and authoritative — there are insights and information here to surprise even the most experienced reporters.”
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The report is divided into four sections that examine:
- The Context of CR Reporting: The report looks at overall growth rates, globally and by region. Survey findings give insights into how global stakeholders view report quality and progress, and how they see the voluntary vs. mandatory reporting debate.Key findings include: Overall CR reporting quality has improved over the past ten years; and companies of all sizes, as well as other organizations, will eventually be expected to report on CR issues.
- The Content of CR Reporting: The trend towards integrated (CR and sustainability) reporting continues, with roughly 80 percent of almost 7,000 annual reports comprising these two report categories; respondents expect all reports to eventually be integrated. More reports are using globally recognized reporting frameworks, and the rising issue of ‘materiality’ is at the top of the CR reporting agenda.Key findings include: It’s best to follow a reporting framework, but not all frameworks are created equal; and respondents believe every CR report should include a materiality index.
- The Communication of CR Reporting: In terms of how a CR reporter would prioritize its potential target audiences, the Perspectives survey results suggest that a CR report should address all stakeholders.Key findings include: Employees are the single most important report audience, with the general public lowest priority; and while preferred reporting frequency is annual, ten percent of respondents would prefer continuous reporting.
- The Credibility of CR Reporting: The most extensive section of the CR Perspectives report features statistics showing the take-up of different global assurance frameworks, analysis of the elements that enhance a CR report’s credibility, and views on what lends credibility to CR report external assurance. Different external assurance frameworks and approaches are compared, and respondents gave their views on which types of assurance provider are preferred.Key findings include: Including ‘bad news’ and data & targets is considered essential for a report to be credible; and the most credible report assurance statements declare their methodology — but if this methodology is desk research, this may detract from overall credibility.
Speaking of reporting, last week The Coca-Cola Company released its 2012/2013 Sustainability Report, which outlined progress the global beverage giant has made in the areas of water conservation and restoration, supporting sustainable community initiatives and empowering female entrepreneurs around the world. In a follow-up interview, Chief Sustainability Officer Bea Perez expanded on the company’s progress but acknowledged there is “more work to do,” and reiterated Coke’s commitment to being part of the solution on issues ranging from water scarcity and packaging waste to obesity.