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Corporate Responsibility Reporting

The KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility (CR) Reporting 2013 covers 4,100 companies in 41 countries, doing a report among the world's largest 250 companies, and it is the eighth edition of the report. The survey provides a snapshot of current global trends in corporate reporting and insights to help companies improve the quality of their reports.

The report stated that companies should no longer ask whether they should publish a CR report. With the high rate of CR reporting in all regions, it is now standard business practice worldwide.

Governments and stock exchanges around the world are now imposing mandatory reporting, and therefore the reporting is moving from a voluntary approach. The KPMG survey reported that more companies than ever are referring to the GRI guidelines in CR reporting.

A review was done on the G250 companies' reports and found that the quality of reporting was inconsistent. The following ten companies received high scores in demonstrating a superior understanding of the impact of social and environmental issues on their business and reported on their strategy, performance, and interaction with stakeholders.

• A.P Møller Mærsk, Transport, Denmark

• BMW, Automotive, Germany

• Cisco Systems, Telecommunications and media, United States

• Ford Motor Company, Automotive, United States

• Hewlett Packard, Electronics and computers, United States

• ING Finance, Insurance and securities, The Netherlands

• Nestlé, Food and beverage, Switzerland

• Repsol, Oil and gas, Spain

• Siemens, Electronics and computers, Germany

• Total, Oil and gas, France

Lessons from the Leaders

KPMG reported the following from its interviews with leaders:

• Establish robust systems and processes for collecting data and identifying material issues: They reported that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for collecting data, as many of the companies developed their own solutions, rather than buying off-the- shelf products.

• Governance: Board-level commitment, management of sustainability on a day-to-day basis; reporting to board. Linking sustainability performance to remuneration.

• Lead from the front: Leaders need to be engaged and committed to CR.

• Create ownership: An example given was Vale, which engages 1,000 employees every year in producing its report.

• Reporting framework: Following the GR4 reporting framework.

• Understand social and environmental mega-forces and how they impact business: Be alert to commercial risks and opportunities.

• Materiality Process: Identify and prioritize actions.

• Targets and indicators are critical in order to improve: Set performance targets for sustainability time, bound with clear baseline and end date, measure progress, be transparent on performance.

• Management of suppliers and value chain: Identify risks in supply chain and systems for managing them.

• Stakeholder engagement: Identify and engage key stakeholders, responding to feedback and taking action.

• Transparency and balance: Acknowledge challenges, dilemmas, failures, achievements, and monitor performance, making it available to stakeholders.[1]

Future trends that were discussed in the report by these leaders include: integration of CR reporting with financial reporting; communication around CR more frequently in the future (e.g., publishing a half-yearly CR performance report or an update as events occur); and an evolution of reporting to include local-level reporting, employees, and external local stakeholders.

  • [1] For quotes from the leaders from these organizations and details, refer to the report (KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility (CR) Reporting 2013), which can be found on KPMG's website, or by contacting the Global Head of Sustainability Reporting & Assurance.
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