10 costly mistakes of CSR reporting

CSR reporting has become the norm for any company committed to responsible business practice. But when done incorrectly, reporting can do more harm than good.

The following are 10 mistakes to avoid when planning, conducting and promoting your CSR report:

1. Weak goals: Sustainability reports built around weak organizational goals are doomed to fail. Know what success looks like for your company and build your CSR reporting around that.

2. Mismanaged data: Good data collection is essential to gaining meaningful results from initiatives such as auditing or footprinting. Assign data collection responsibilities to trained people – either inside or outside your company – and continuously check the numbers for accuracy.

3. Disordered priorities: Recognize that the pillars of the triple bottom line are interconnected, and that long-term sustainability goes beyond shareholder profits. A good manager will prioritize sustainability in the CSR reports by weighting it equal to financial performance.

4. Discounting feedback: Reporting shouldn’t be a one-way endeavor. Take the advice of third parties such as auditors and stakeholder panels, who can comment on your report and help verify data accuracy.

5. Breaking the rules: Good reporting should follow a trusted framework or guideline. The Global Reporting Initiative is an excellent example.

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Reports image by Yanik Chauvin via Shutterstock.