A record number of leading global companies are voluntarily reporting on social and environmental issues, according to a report published today (Global Corporate Responsibility Reporting Trends 2006) by the corporate responsibility consultancy ‘Context’.
The Context report, based on information from the CorporateRegister.com database, analyses reporting of the world’s 300 leading public companies. It shows:
Only 10 of the top 100 in Europe do not report;
A majority of the US top 100 now publish a report;
Most companies report on a wide range of issues rather than focusing solely on environment or philanthropy;
The majority of European reporters use external assurance to validate their reports, but this is less common elsewhere and very rare in the US; and
A growing number of these companies acknowledge the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines, but very few are formally “in accordance” with them.
But there are still question marks about the quality of reporting, Context directors argue:
Experienced reporters are eager to escape conformity with informal reporting standards to produce more effective communications;
Companies need to focus on key issues, but find guidance on “materiality” issues unhelpful; and
Reports need to be part of a process of improving performance and are not an end in themselves.