Of course, the problem with providing feedback on sustainability reports is that they always seem to end up in some black hole and you never quite know whether anyone ever read the feedback or did anything with it. This is one of the big breakthroughs of the SAP and the Guardian online report execution - feedback is open and online and gets a reply.
Most companies make a plea to receive feedback but it is hard to tell if this is lip service or genuine interest in what people have to say. I tend to get about a half 'n half response from the companies I write to directly with feedback - half respond, half don't. I never get a response to any of the specific feedback forms I submit.
I believe that the best incentive for encouraging stakeholders and report readers to give more feedback is not the promise of an iPad or even the possibility of a donation to a good cause. It would be the promise of ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. I believe people want to see their feedback acknowledged and responded to. People provide feedback because they want to make a difference. They are not just taking the time to generously provide free advice to companies for the greater good. They want to have influence and impact. So come on reporters, if you want people to respond to you, make an upfront commitment to valuing their feedback. Let people know you are serious.
I found a nice example from DiGi.com Berhad, a Malaysian mobile and internet service provider. In their Sustainability Report 2009, they offer us the possibility of getting a response to our feedback. (I haven't tested this out yet, but let's give them the benefit of the doubt for the time being :)).
Of course, reporting companies could always make a commitment to respond, a promise of a Euro 5 donation to a good cause AND an iPad for the winning feedback..... throwing in a pint of Chunky Monkey would make it really effective.
elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices Contact me via www.twitter.com/elainecohen on Twitter or via my business website www.b-yond.biz/en (BeyondBusiness, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm)