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CSR Reporting Improves Co Performance, GRI Hands Out Awards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and United Nations Global Compact announced an agreement today to align their work in advancing corporate responsibility and transparency at GRI’s Global Conference on Sustainability and Transparency in Amsterdam.

Under the terms of the agreement, GRI will develop guidance regarding the Global Compact’s ten principles and issue areas to integrate centrally in a next iteration of its Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, a framework developed to facilitate transparency and accountability for businesses and other organizations seeking to disclose their environmental and social performance. At the same time, the Global Compact will adopt the GRI Guidelines as the recommended reporting framework for the businesses that have joined GRI’s corporate responsibility platform.

The agreement is intended to provide companies in the Global Compact with a clear set of reporting principles and indicators to meet the initiative’s compulsory annual disclosure requirement, also known as the Communication on Progress. The GRI Reporting Framework is applicable to organizations of all sectors, sizes and regions and also offers a series of supplements developed to address sector-specific circumstances and challenges.

Yesterday, the results of GRI’s Readers’ Choice Survey were debated.

According to the survey, when done effectively, 98 percent of readers agreed that reporting improves an organization’s performance over time. Also, half of the readers surveyed agreed they use reporting to ‘inform decisions to invest/divest in the organization’, over half of the readers also use the information they read to decide on a purchase, service or relationship with that organization, and 41 percent stated that reporting affects their consumer behavior.

Seventy percent of respondents said the primary reason to report is ‘to account for an organization’s sustainability performance’. Improving internal processes’ was a close second choice, selected by 75 percent of readers and 65 percent of reporters.’

Ninety percent of respondents said reporting is not considered greenwashing, and, in fact, trust in CSR reporting was increasing. The survey outcomes showed that the top factors for increasing trust included presenting robust data which proves progress, having a track record of actual actions, and having clear link between sustainability and an organization’s core strategies.

Meanwhile the winners of its Readers’ Choice Awards were announced.

The awards recognize companies based on their efforts to communicate with stakeholders on their sustainability efforts. Readers that took part in the Readers’ Choice Awards Survey chose reports that exemplified qualities in a report that they thought were important.

The three winners this year were Banco do Brasil, Banco Bradesco, Vale and Natura Cosmeticos, all of which are from Brazil.

The awards have generated more interest and attention from around the world, with twice as many participants in 2010 than the first edition in 2008.

Banco do Brazil won the Engage Award, for the organization that scored best with its internal stakeholders, the Investor Award for the organization scored best by the investor community, and the Best Overall Award. Banco Bradesco won the Most Effective Report Award for the organization whose report best matched reporters’ objectives with readers’ needs. Natura Cosmeticos won the Value Chain Award for the company scored best by its own value chain, and Vale won the Civil Society Award for the organization scored best by civil society.

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