Friday, January 11, 2013

Insights from Ten First Time Reporters

It's time to take a look at the CRRA'13 First Reports category. Most of you know by now that I can't resist first reports. There are ten reports in the line-up this time around.
(Note: All report links go to the website where the reports in CRRA'13 are hosted, so you need to be registered to view them). 
(Disclosure: My client, GSK Romania, has a report shortlisted in this category. Of course, I think it's a fabulous first report! Of course, I think everyone should vote GSK Romania in first place!)
(Opportunity: This time around, you can win CASH PRIZES during the voting period. If you vote in all nine categories, you are entered for a weekly Voters' Draw with prizes of GBP250 every week till the voting closes at end January. Also, winners are entered into the final Voters' Draw after the voting closes and are eligible to win one of the additional GBP250 cash prizes. The weekly draw takes place every Monday morning). 

The ten first reports in the line-up this year in alpha order are:

This adds up to 678 printed pages of reporting, average 68 pages per company. (The Golders Associates Report is the only full web-based report, with a 20 page printed summary download).

The reports are from companies in 6 countries:

None of the first time reports is an integrated report.
90% of the first reporters used the GRI Framework, one did not declare a level and of the remaining eight, six are at B level, one at A and one at C. Given the interesting and important dialogue that is taking place currently about the quality of reports and the role of the GRI and its Application Level Check, I looked at how many of the GRI reporters used the Application Level Check service and three of the eight GRI declared-level reports did so.

Here is a summary of the First Reports line-up:

Now, one of the interesting things about the CRRA'13 awards, that you may not have noticed, is that each entry provides supplemental information about the report highlights and the category strengths for the reporting category it is entered in. These are located on the Report Profile Pages for each report.

Rather than provide you with my analysis of these first time reports, I thought I would share some of these insights provided by the reporters themselves.

AGCO Corp says:
"We used photography and icons as effective ways of supporting our narrative and to help readers gain access to detailed text. In addition to the narrative, we tried to incorporate several examples throughout the report from AGCO personnel. By using this method, we offer helpful insight and create a more personal feel to the document."

Golder Associates  have been extremely creative - it's worth reading what they say about their own report. Here's a taste:
"Within each category you can read as many of our short stories as you’d like – we wanted you to have the freedom to explore in their own way, rather than making the story too “linear”. Your kids will think it’s cool. We wanted to appeal to a younger generation in the graphics and the style of story writing we did. It is definitely not boring, even though we are a company of engineers and scientists."

"We are on a mission to reinforce trust in our industry, in an authentic and transparent way. This is the first report of GSK Romania, and one of only a couple of local reports for any GSK country operation worldwide. We believe that trust is built with local stakeholders, and it was important to us, given our prominent position in the healthcare system in Romania, to maintain and develop our dialogue with stakeholders with the help of a full and transparent Corporate Responsibility Report."

"We are showing that ‘telling the truth’ is in no way a disadvantage for the company and that, on the contrary, the company is highly regarded for its openness and willingness to provide all the relevant information in the right context. In this respect we are pioneers in the Czech environment."
(Note: New World Resources is registered in the Netherlands but its main activities are in the Czech Republic and Poland)

"In June 2011, POSCO Family declared the Corporate Charter, demonstrating its strong commitment to becoming a firm endeared by its stakeholders through contribution to sustainable social development and the welfare of humankind. In doing so, POSCO Family defined its stakeholders to include the society at large, business partners, investors, customers, employees, and the environment."

"The Sustainability Report describes our sustainability focus in three arenas – people, performance and the environment. It also publicly identifies six sustainability goals to be reached by 2020, based on a 2009 baseline. ..... Within the report, readers will also find......twenty-three featured “Evidence of Excellence” case studies that demonstrate our successes with initiatives implemented within the reporting period."
"The report performs as a guideline for the company to become a more responsible and sustainable organization. We believe that it has impacted the organization as a whole through this report as employees consider sustainability when conducting business activities and management considers the impact of their decisions with the mission and values of the company. It has initiated an enterprise-wide movement aimed to fulfil the three directions: transparent and responsible growth, respect for human and the environment and accompanying with partners."

"In this inaugural report, we have also included selected noteworthy historical events. Year-on-year sustainability performance metrics are provided, where available, and selected case studies are used to provide a more in-depth description of efforts on the ground. A special focus on key social issues in Liberia and Indonesia has also been provided."

"This Corporate Responsibility Report will give you an idea of where we stand and where we’re headed. Over the next several years, our company will continue to make significant investments in our equipment fleet. Our fleet team will be looking at the most advanced technologies available, not only for the purposes of safety and reliability, but also because we want to reduce the fleet’s carbon footprint, noise levels and air quality impacts."  (Actually, United Rentals didn't write a special supplementary commentary, so I took this paragraph from the report's CEO statement)
"VELUX Group believes that the quality of our lives and the quality of our environment are closely interlinked. Under the credo Sustainable Living we want to inspire buildings that give more than they take, i.e. buildings with high energy efficiency, optimum indoor climate and renewable energy sources. By numerous full-scale experiments, VELUX Group contributes to the development of carbon-free buildings with a pleasant indoor climate offering plenty of daylight and fresh air..."
Some of the commentaries that the reporting companies provide about their own reports are actually very insightful. I hope some or all of the above will entice you into taking a look and making the effort to vote in CRRA '13. The more awareness for reporting we create, and the wider the readership, the better our chances are of creating a mainstream high-quality reporting culture in which companies realize that transparency with integrity is valued. Why? Because ultimately,we all benefit.
Congrats to all these first time reporters. Good luck to all in CRRA '13!  

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, winning (CRRA'12) Sustainability Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices  Contact me via   on Twitter or via my business website  (Beyond Business Ltd, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm)

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