ANALYSIS: The Future of CSR Reporting

A Dispatch by SSC Intern Wendy Tng

As part of my work with Strategic Sustainability Consulting, I recently completed a white paper on CSR reporting. Working through this paper provided a closer look at the key standards that companies are now reporting to. For instance, the Global Reporting Initiative, launched by CERES and the Tellus Institute, is becoming the leading standard chosen by organizations. This is in large part because of the guidelines that pertain widely to a large range of companies across industries.

The Carbon Disclosure Project, which launched in 2000 to collect and distribute information to encourage investors, corporations and governments to respond to climate change, is another standard on the minds of many firms. This is particularly so, since the supermarket giant Walmart has asked its suppliers to report in accordance with the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Still, it seems that the plethora of standards is itself a source of confusion for many reporting corporations. At at a recent workshop in Toronto on corporate social responsibility, many participants from leading companies expressed frustration with the (number of) standards. What do the application levels in the Global Reporting Initiative (A, B, C) mean? How best can a company determine what is material to its operations? It appears that there is demand for consolidation of these standards, and it’ll be interesting to watch the developments in this space in coming years.