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Public Perception of the Value Placed on Corporate Sustainability Reporting

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This video that I created provides a brief introduction into Corporate Sustainability Reporting and then goes on to analyze the public perception sourced from online websites with a vested interest in the Global Reporting Initiative’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Framework. I originally created this video for another class project, but one of the most useful tools I have learned in college is being able to garner knowledge in one class and find a way to apply it to other classes and rework it to meet the needs of different project requirements. I refer to this as educational efficiency.

Corporate Sustainability Reporting is a new trend which originated in the E.U and is emerging among U.S corporations. A Sustainability report is basically a universal way for a firm to produce an annual report on non-financial performance data (Emissions, Waste streams, Water consumption, Social welfare projects, Safety metrics, etc.). Reports are communicated to stakeholders and are especially targeted at shareholders that place value on the environmental reputation of corporations. Sustainability Reporting holds corporations under a spot light helping to ensure their due diligence. I am a strong believer in the value of sustainability reporting, but one concern I have is the concept of “green-washing”, which is when companies claim to have sustainable practices when in actuality they have enormous environmental impacts. Some corporations internalize environmental stewardship and make a legitimate business case for sustainability; while others find ways to stretch the truth (or blatantly lie) and paint a green picture to public audiences.

CSR Comic

                                                        http://fastexposure.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/blog-acton-org.jpg

A current development in public perceptions on sustainability reporting are surrounding the CSR data reassurance agencies. Consulting from these agencies are not required by GRI, but tremendously encouraged. E.U companies adhere to report auditing from these agencies; however the U.S companies are not following the same suit. For some peculiar reason they claim to not see the value in having the data in their sustainability reports reassured by a third party. Unfortunately, I was unaware of this controversy before creating this video so in the video I focused on the public perception of the value placed on corporate sustainability reports instead of analyzing the criticisms held among the public spheres.

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