Corporate responsibility reporting enters the mainstream

International accounting firm KPMG has published the results of its latest survey on corporate responsibility reporting.

The survey report shows continuing support for corporate responsibility and open communication by the leaders of many of the world’s most successful and biggest companies:

Corporate responsibility (CR) reporting in industrialized countries has clearly entered the mainstream, with Japan and UK in the lead. There has been a dramatic change from purely environmental reporting up until 1999 to sustainability reporting in 2005, encompassing social, ethical, environmental and economic indicators. The CR performance has definitely caught the eye of the financial sector which is reflected in the two-fold increase in reporting in this sector since 2002.

In the report’s introduction, Mike Rake, Chairman of KPMG International, says: "The survey reflects the growing importance within the business community of corporate responsibility as the key indicator of non-financial performance, as well as a driver of financial performance. It also reflects the responsibility that business has to be transparent and accountable not just to shareholders but also to the wider community."

With its comprehensive coverage of over 1600 companies – including the top 250 companies of the Fortune 500 and top 100 companies in 16 countries – the survey provides a truly global picture of reporting trends over the last ten years.

The bottom line:

[…] The important business drivers for corporate responsibility for companies are:

  • to have a good brand and reputation
  • to be an employer of choice
  • to have and maintain a strong market position
  • to have the trust of the financial markets and increase shareholder value
  • to be innovative in developing new products and services and creating new markets.

The report also includes this definition of the phrase ‘corporate responsibility’:

"The commitment of business to contribute to sustainable economic development, working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large to improve their quality of life." – World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), 2004.

Download KPMG International Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2005 (PDF)

See also – short article in yesterday’s Financial Times (paid sub access) with a good analysis of the survey report.

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One thought on “Corporate responsibility reporting enters the mainstream

  1. Thanks for the info, Neville. It’s too bad “making the world a better place, so we have a market to sell to in the future” doesn’t qualify as a business driver, but it’s good to see corporate social responsibility being taken so seriously by so many companies.

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