Corporate responsibililty on the rise globally

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In what KPMG has claimed to be the most comprehensive surveys of corporate responsibility (CR) reporting ever published, the KPMG International Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2011 reviewed trends of each of the Global Fortune 250 (G250), as well as 3,400 companies worldwide, representing the national leaders in 34 countries and 15 industry sectors.

Nearly every Global Fortune 250 (G250) company now reports its corporate responsibility activity, while reporting by pharmaceuticals, consumer markets, and construction industries has more than doubled since KPMG International last conducted its global survey in 2008.

The survey found that CR reporting is now undertaken by 95% of the G250, while the largest 100 companies (N100) in each country surveyed increased reporting by 11% since 2008, to 64% overall, with developing nations showing fast uptake.

Almost half of the G250 companies report gaining financial value from their CR initiatives. In the absence of a regulatory global sustainability reporting standard, the drive for consistency and accessibility to quality data was highlighted in the findings. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines are used by 80% of the G250 and 69% of N100 companies and is gaining widespread adoption as the de facto reporting standard.

Countries leading reporting in the survey in 2008 continue to dominate today with UK and Japan at 100% and 99%, respectively, of companies reporting. The Australian figure was 57%.

Poorly performing countries included New Zealand and Chile (27%), India (20%) and Israel (18%).

In a recent interview with Human Capital, Christopher Tipler, management advisor and author of Corpus RIOS - The how and what of business strategy, suggested that the prevailing paradigm at present for all businesses is CSR - but he added that it's "a pointless and meaningless paradigm", unless the concept is internalized and aligned with driving revenue, lowering costs, empowering employees and motivating customers.

"Businesses are there to make money; they're not there to balance their bottom line with other stuff. If you don't internalize the sustainability matter and make it a strategic matter, and align it to making money, it won't wash. You'll produce a lot of glossy reports about what you're doing in the community and for the planet, but at the end of the day it won't mean you're becoming a sustainable organisation, because you're really just window dressing."

Instead, Tipler suggested companies "walk the talk", and align their people around serious sustainability objectives at "the very essence of the business".

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