At the GreenBiz Forum in Scottsdale, Ariz., last month, I brushed shoulders with some of the biggest thinkers in sustainability and corporate social responsibility across the public and private sectors.
The forum offered a great deal of content and conversation surrounding data capture and measurement in the panel about the role of consumers in driving sustainability, at which Angela Irion of Procter & Gamble and Neil Hawkins of the Dow Chemical Company spoke. Another panel, about the ROI of sustainability marketing, featured Toyota's Mary Nickerson, who shared insights on how other companies have shaped their messaging.
But missing from the conversation was how all of this information is delivered in ways that people can understand and engage with, and the platforms used to push out this critical reporting content.
For five years, Methodologie has measured trends in annual, CSR and now — for the first time — integrated reporting across the Fortune 100. Integrated reporting, as defined by the International Integrated Reporting Council, is "a concise communication about how an organization's strategy, governance, performance and prospects lead to the creation of value over the short, medium and long term." Below are the most engaging highlights. (You can download the full Methodologie 2013 Report of Reports here.)
Annual reporting on the decline, but influence remains strong
Annual reporting is on the decline, but of the Fortune 100 brands that created a report, we saw a 12 percent increase in online reporting and a 51 percent decrease in print reporting. Social integration and reporting feedback saw a 30 percent increase, which illustrates how corporations are doing more to ensure their content exists beyond just a standalone report.
CSR reporting embraces GRI
Among the Fortune 100 companies, only 67 created a corporate sustainability report. Methodologie believes this is because the requirements surrounding the Global Reporting Initiative framework may be deterring a steadier rise. Of those 67 that created a CSR report, 44 of them — nearly two-thirds of respondents — leveraged the GRI framework.
Due to the continued increase in connecting with people on multiple devices, six of the Fortune 100 said they leveraged responsive design, the approach to creating sites that can be viewed across a broad range of devices. To further verify the data in their sustainability reporting, 21 of the Fortune 100 included letters of assurance.
Integrated reporting ready to ramp up
Only three of the Fortune 100 brands produced an integrated report. Given the reporting options (G3, G4, and integrated), we know there will continue to be a variation in reporting until the GRI requires G4 reporting in 2015. In addition, with all the discussion surrounding integrated reporting, we believe that we'll see a big jump in integrated adoption in future years.
However, we understand that it may be a while before more U.S. corporations see the value that integrated reporting shows in organizational commitment to sustainability and positions them as industry leaders.
Methodologie prepares to measure future reports
In next year's report, we plan to take a deeper dive into the trends we see in integrated reporting, mobile adoption and cross-platform delivery of reporting content. Tell us what you'd like to see in our next report.
Top image by Sarunyu_foto via Shutterstock