Corporate social reporting (1)
There has been a real change in recent years with regard to corporate social reporting. Many more companies are reporting to their stakeholders on a broader range of social issues than ever before. Many of these reports follow standardized formats; others do not.
Corporate social reporting (2)
There are four essential issues that a company needs to take up with regard to corporate social reporting: 1. What are the social issues that should be reported on? 2. What ethical standards should be applied in evaluating and reporting on corporate social performance?
Corporate social reporting (3)
3. How should monitoring and verification of social performance occur? 4. What form should the social reporting take? Companies should have a strategy for their social reporting!
What social issues should be reported on?
The social issues that are relevant for one company may not be for another. Much depends on the (1) industry that the company is in and (2) demands of stakeholder groups. Some industries have clearer public expectations for reporting than others.
What ethical standards should be applied? (1)
We discussed various ways of engaging in ethical reasoning this semester. Through environmental scanning (especially for stakeholder expectations), thinking through their own missions, and looking at what other companies are doing, companies can develop a defensible set of ethical standards to apply to their operations.
What ethical standards should be applied? (2)
Companies should also refer to well-established ethical standards like the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights, International Labor Organization conventions, and various environmental statements.
Monitoring and verification Companies need to (1) monitor compliance with corporate ethical standards and quantify their social performances and (2) verify that their processes of gathering and reporting information are accurate (think financial auditing here).
The form of social reporting Here the critical issues are (1) should the company use a standardized reporting mechanism or a custom-made format and (2) how should the social report be made public, and in what form (web, paper reports, etc.)?
And finally. . .
Corporate social reporting is not an end in and of itself; rather, it allows companies to (1) improve their social performances and (2) build better relationships with stakeholders.