Saturday, August 7, 2010

BBC, Cummins, Mauser CSR reports highlights and insights

Random selection of recently published CSR / Sustainability Reports and my totally frank opinion. Hah!

Period: 4/9-3/10 GRI: not. Assured: yes. UNGC: not  Pages: 45 Reporting since: 2001
One Liner: Very impressive report indeed, reflecting impressive performance.

Talk about responsiblity. The BBC says their audience reaches 233 million people EACH WEEK. That's some responsibility. What does the BBC see as its role in creating news and entertainment which makes the world a better place ?  After brief intro by CEO Mark Thompson, the bulk of this report works through 6 core sustainability themes ("public purposes") (divergent) before giving the low-down on the business's direct impacts (convergent). The key themes are : sustaining civil society, promoting education, stimulating learning and cultural excellence, presenting the UK, bringing the UK to the world and vice versa, supporting emerging communications. This is quite an impressive list showing the overall value a broadcasting company can add to society. In each section, the BBC describes a range of initiatives and in most cases, includes quantitative data showing the impact of each program. Equally, enviromnental measures are reported clearly (and all, incidentally show improved performance in this reporting year). Key disappointment: the BBC employs 17,000 people and they barely get a mention in this report - aspects of the BBC as a responsible employer seem to be outside the scope of this report which is an omission, in my view. NB: The Assurance statement from "The Virtuous Circle" is one of the best I have seen.

Cummins Sustainability Report 2010
Period: 2009 GRI: not. Assured: not. UNGC: not Pages: 116 Reporting since: 2000

One Liner:  Long but worth the read

Cummins is an industrial engineering firm with turnover of around $10 billion, employing 36,000 people in 51 countries (with an expectation of 30% increase in employee numbers over the next 3 years. This report is called "Meeting the challenges of global sustainability" The company's vision is "Making people's lives better by unleashing the Power of Cummins" and this report is a testimony to a powerful approach to social responsibility where the philosophy, the activities and the data are throroughly presented. The report is presented "in the spirit" of the Global Reporting Intiiative, though exactly what that means is unclear to me. The report has five main sections (environment, governance, corporate responsibility (society), employees and finance), each one followed by a case study of Cummin's community partnerships and activities. These include the flagship Earth University designed to create ethical agricultural engineers, a college of engineering for women in India, and another project in India where Cummins developed a way to power a rural village of 65 households by using Cummins generators running on a locally available renewable energy source – non-edible vegetable oil produced from the seeds of Pongamia trees. Amazing! The report is nicely padded with case studies, quotations from a range of Cummins' employees and snippets of context, such as the following background to the Cummins decision to ban cell phones while driving: "Nearly 80 percent of all crashes in the United States involve some form of driver distraction within three seconds of impact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration." Another  interesting aspect of this report is the description of the Six Sigma system which Cummins reports has saved them over $3 billion in 10 years. A nicely transparent report which, if a little long, is truly worth the read. Inspiring progress!

Mauser Group 2009 Sustainability Report
Period: 2009 GRI: B. Assured: not. UNGC: not Pages: 38 Reporting since: First report

One Liner: A good start but many promises to deliver on in coming years

Mauser, headquartered in Germany,  is a provider of industrial packing solutions, selling over 1 Billion Euros worth of solutions to the chemical, lubricant, pharma and other sectors, and employing 4,000 people. Mauser calls sustainability a "key business driver" and it is part of their new vision formulated in 2009.  What is nice about this is clearly this company has come to the realization that sustainability is strategic and represents a different way of doing business. More importantly, a key element of this is "strengthening their HR department" As my regular followers will know, this is a point on which I have a lot to say and regrettably Mauser don't elaborate on what they are doing with their HR Managers to equip them to address this new direction. Mauser do confirm that they have conducted a stakeholder analysis, and consulted with stakeholders but none of this is disclosed  though promised for further reports. As a minimum, in this first report, a list of key stakeholders would have been advisable. Mauser has made progress in mapping out its key environmental impacts and establishing directions for the future (though not targets). Key areas of impact are use of post-consumer resin in the manufacturing process and the development of Life-Cycle Anaylses for total product impact evaluation and reduction. This report is in my view a little lightweight for a GRI B report, but it is a good start and time will tell as to how Mauser deliver on their promises to expand, develop and report annually  in the future.

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Contact me via  on Twitter or via my business website  (BeyondBusiness, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm)

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