What is a CSR report? Benefits and examples
After all the brainstorming, designing your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy, and implementing the program, the final step is to gauge the effectiveness of the initiative. This is when the significance of a CSR report comes into the picture.
A CSR report helps you understand the result of all your CSR efforts. It assesses whether or not, and to what degree, were your initiatives able to achieve the desired sustainable goals, and how did it benefit the community, stakeholders, and society at large.
“A CSR report is an internal and external-facing document companies use to communicate CSR efforts and their impact on the environment and community,” reads a blog by the Harvard Business School.
Over the years, more and more companies have made CSR reports almost a mandatory part of their overall CSR effort. Some countries have even made it compulsory for businesses to file an annual CSR report. According to a report by the Governance and Accountability Institute, around 90 percent of the companies on the S&P 500 index published CSR reports in 2019, up from a mere 20 percent in 2011.
Importance and benefits of CSR reports
As stated above, one of the primary roles of a CSR report is to communicate the fruition of its CSR efforts with the world. In the process, the exercise also helps businesses assess the shortcomings of the initiatives/programs, and figure out ways through which the program can be improved.
Here are some of the key benefits:
A CSR report can act as a company’s communication tool, allowing you to share outcomes or impacts created by your company
Help build corporate reputation
Can aid marketing, public relations
Highlights organization’s achievements
Can help build the brand’s social responsibility and create accountability
Can provide insights into the company’s CSR effort
Map shortcomings, areas for improvement
Consider this example, if an organization sets out to achieve reduced water consumption and wastage by 2025, a CSR report can provide a platform to review whether or not the business was able to achieve the goal by the end of the stipulated time frame, and if not, then why? It can give the organization an opportunity to assess what went off track and what can be done to realign its effort to accomplish the goal in a realistic timeframe.
A CSR report is an effective tool to communicate an organization’s “business’s efforts, goals, and plans to help the environment and community, along with the impact it’s had so far,” states the Harvard Business School. Therefore, it’s never too late to get started with your social responsibility efforts if your organization has not yet tapped the potential of this productive, insightful, and beneficial exercise.