Corporate responsibility reports, once considered a niche activity only practiced by a few companies, has increased rapidly since 2000, but the rate of adoption has slowed in the past two years, according to a report released Tuesday.
The slower growth is largely due to fewer new companies producing their first reports, according to CorporateRegister.com, the online CR report directory that published the study.
The CR Perspectives 2013 – Global CR Reporting Trends and Stakeholder Views report uses statistics from the directory’s 52,000 report database and an online survey that garnered responses from 300 participants.
Corporate responsibility reports have improved in the past decade with most companies using globally recognized frameworks, the report says. The report also found a push toward integrated reporting. While integrated reports are increasing, they’re not as widespread as assumed largely because there is not one agreed upon standard, the report says.
The survey results indicate that companies tend to place greater importance on stakeholders who are closest to direct operations. Employees are the single most important report audience and the general public is at the bottom, according to the survey results.
Despite progress on the reporting side, companies still struggle to integrate sustainability into their daily operations. Only one in five companies has fully integrated sustainability into business, according to a survey released in November of corporate sustainability executives by nonprofit business network BSR and research consultancy GlobeScan.
This year, more than 700 business leaders from BSR’s global member network responded to the fifth annual BSR/GlobeScan State of Sustainable Business Survey 2013 — the largest survey response to date, BSR says.
Some 62 percent of respondents said integrating sustainability into core business operations is the most important leadership challenge for business today. This was far higher than the next most frequently cited challenge, which was convincing investors about the value of sustainability (28 percent).