Heinz published their fifth #csr report yesterday. It's a GRI B self-declared report. Congratulations! I didn't read it yet. But something struck a nerve with me, so i decided to use Heinz as a scapegoat in my upcoming rant. Heinz is by no means the only Company who does this, but, well, they just happened to plop only my screen as I have the energy to rant. Here is what they say about the online report:
"Reflecting our commitment to environmental responsibility, Heinz has conserved paper and the energy used to produce it by publishing our 2009 Corporate Responsibility Report exclusively online. This online report provides more in-depth information than previous reports about our corporate social responsibility activities and includes multimedia elements. In addition, we are offering a customizable PDF so readers of this report may print out any sections they wish."
What is it about CSR reports that they are held up as the sole example of a Company saving the planet by not printing it? What about Annual Reports? Heinz makes it really really easy for anyone, not just investors, to order a printed copy of an Annual Report . There is nothing in the rest of their CSR report about conserving paper. Reduced printing in everyday operations? Percentage of recycled paper consumption ? On-line billing? Zilch. The only example we have of Heinz's commitment to conserving paper is this one single example of a sustainability report.
There are many good reasons to produce on-line reports, beyond the conservation of paper. And Heinz reports many good examples of environmental positives including reducing packaging initiatives and more. But if the CSR non-printed report is the only paper-conservation exercise that is highlighted by a Company, I begin to wonder how balanced their reporting is.
elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm . Visit our website at: www.b-yond.biz/en