Over the past 10 years, corporate social responsibility reporting, also known as CSR reporting, impact reporting or sustainability reporting, has become more popular, a trend that is predicted to continue. In Vietnam, CSR reports are still not as popular as in other countries, but some foreign enterprises have started to publish annual CSR reports.
What is Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting (CSR)?
Corporate social responsibility is the idea that a business is responsible for the society and the environment in which it operates (according to the Sustainable Business Strategy). Many businesses striving for social responsibility use three key points—the organisation's impact on people and planet, in addition to its bottom line—to define strategic priorities.
A corporate social responsibility report (CSR) is an internal and external document that companies use to communicate CSR efforts and their impact on the environment and communities. An organisation's CRS efforts can be divided into four categories: environmental, ethical, philanthropic, and economic. CSR reports are often presented in digital format for easy distribution to a wide range of interested people, but can also be printed and presented directly to stakeholders. The layout of a CSR report can range from a simple text document to a designed, visually stimulating package.
CSR reporting is aimed at corporate stakeholders. These internal or external stakeholders can be divided into six main categories:
For each of these groups, the CSR report aims to provide transparency regarding a company's operations and its commitment to the environment and society.
In some countries, companies are required to publish an annual CSR report. While it is not yet mandatory for companies based in Vietnam, some experts predict that CSR reporting will become mandatory in the not too distant future. Furthermore, currently, there is no common set of CSR reporting standards in Vietnam. However, the lack of standards can make it difficult to compare reports between companies, further allowing companies to eliminate areas that are not in their favor.
Over the past 10 years, corporate social responsibility reporting—also known as CSR reporting, impact reporting or sustainability reporting—has become more popular, a trend that is predicted to continue. In fact, 90% of the companies in the S&P 500 have released CSR reports in 2019—up from 86% in 2018, 75% in 2014 and just 20% in 2011.
What does the CSR report include?
A CSR report does not have to be a long document with a variety of tables and charts, but can be designed to be more personal to the company, thereby attracting readers more into the CSR content of the company.
Here's what every CSR report should include:
A brief note from the CEO introduces the report and highlights its key findings. This summary sets the mood for the report and informs the reader that upper management is invested in CSR goals.
Presents the organisation's governance structure and business model to give context to the report. Understanding how a business can function is important to understanding how it will perform throughout the financial year.
Describe the sustainability context in which the organisation operates. This includes information on what is happening at the market and industry level, and provides an overview of the sustainability options available.
The impact assessment identifies areas where the organisation is creating a negative social or environmental impact. In this step, it is also important to define indicators to measure progress.
A materiality report identifies and prioritises the most pressing concerns seen by stakeholders. This allows businesses to address them in a perceived order of importance.
The performance overview informs stakeholders about how issues have been resolved and how they will be resolved. This section uses the data and indicators presented in the impact assessment.
Some information about the company's actions, initiatives.
Why should there be a Corporate Social Responsibility Report (CSR) ?
CSR reporting is not required but can be of great benefit to an organisation and its business goals. This is a useful way to keep stakeholders up to date and up to date with an organisation's internal CSR efforts. The CSR report is also an important report for stakeholders. Research shows that 77% of consumers are motivated to buy from organisations committed to making the world a better place. This sentiment is also replicated among investors, with 73% saying that efforts to improve the world around them contribute to their investment decisions.
Overall, CSR reporting helps:
The business communicates its social and sustainability efforts to employees, customers, community members and investors. This promotes trust, transparency and improves reputation.
If the business has been successful in its CSR efforts, the CSR report becomes a valuable public relations and marketing asset.
Businesses take responsibility for their sustainability efforts and help prevent greenwashing.
Efficient projects are needed to make businesses more sustainable, help reduce energy use and lead to lower energy bills.
Businesses evaluate progress annually and see what tactics are working and which areas still need improvement.
The Good Human supports businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses, in writing CSR reports at a reasonable cost, with services tailored to the needs of each business.
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What is a CSR report & why is it important? (2021) Business Insights Blog. Available at: https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/what-is-a-csr-report (Accessed: December 6, 2022).