Corporate Responsibility Reporting: Convey Your Impact
Once your company has an established corporate responsibility program, a corporate responsibility report (aka corporate social responsibility or CSR report) is the ideal way to showcase your efforts. The report, typically published annually, describes your company’s values and summarizes your corporate responsibility vision, accomplishments, and impact.
Often, larger companies seek to align their corporate responsibility reporting with standards like the Global Reporting Institute (GRI), Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), or similar organizations to allow their shareholders, customers, and other stakeholders to compare their corporate responsibility work with that of their peers. However, there is no set format, length, or content for a corporate responsibility report, giving a company the flexibility to craft a document that serves its needs.
Considerations for a Corporate Responsibility Report
To help determine those needs, your company can consider the following questions:
Purpose: What is the goal of the corporate responsibility report? Is it to maintain or improve shareholder confidence? Increase sales? Promote brand awareness? Contrast your activities with those of your competitors?
Audience and Content: Which stakeholders will be most interested in the report? What information will be most valuable to them to include? Will your audience want extensive data that measures your corporate responsibility progress or storytelling that drives home key messaging? Will text heavy narrative or graph- and photo-driven images resonate more?
Resources and Responsibility: How much is budgeted for the creation and publication of the corporate responsibility report? Will internal staff gather information and draft the report or it it more efficient to outsource?
Input from senior management is critical to the success of the corporate responsibility report. It is therefore imperative to identify relevant stakeholders to be involved in the process and to obtain buy-in from the outset. In addition, do benchmarking research to explore the layout and content of corporate responsibility reports from your competitors and others in your industry before getting started to help pinpoint industry trends in reporting and shape how you portray your corporate responsibility activities.
For an example of a common format and flow seen in corporate responsibility reports, download the report that we developed for the gaming industry below.