Corporate Social Responsibility Index – Preview
Monday, 8th May 2006 at 1:05 pm
New Zealand companies will be measured against their Australian counterparts when the 2005 corporate responsibility index results are published next week.
The Corporate Responsibility Index is a strategic management tool to improve the capacity of businesses to develop, measure and communicate best practice in the field of corporate social responsibility.
It does this through benchmarking CSR strategy and the implementation process across the four key impact areas of community, workplace, marketplace and environment.
The Index was created by more than 80 leading businesses in the UK and Business in the Community, a unique movement of 700 member companies committed to continually improving their positive impact on society.
Top Australian and New Zealand companies and leading NGOs now have an opportunity to contribute to the Corporate Responsibility Index alongside other global partners in shaping the development of the Index as it extends into the international marketplace.
Business Council of Australia members and Australia’s top 250 companies were invited to participate in the Corporate Responsibility Index by completing an online survey accessible via individual and secure usernames and passwords. Participation is free of charge.
Business in the Community donated the Index under a licensing agreement for use in Australia. St James Ethics Centre, working in partnership with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age and supported by Ernst & Young, launched the Corporate Responsibility Index in Australia in February 2004.
Manager Corporate Responsibility Index St James Ethics Centre, Emily Albert says this year, a number of leading Australian and international companies have again undertaken to participate in a rigorous examination of their corporate responsibility performance.
Albert says that encouragingly the number of participants has increased since last year, although the rate of uptake by Australian business remains slow.
She says that after a gritty result in their first year, this year’s performance improvement by participating companies across the board demonstrates their commitment to instill principles of corporate responsibility throughout their operational systems.
Essentially it provides a systematic approach to managing, measuring and reporting upon the various impacts that companies have upon society and the environment, and enables participating companies to benchmark their performance against those of their peers.
A key differentiating feature of this index is the commitment participants make to voluntary public disclosure.
Emily Albert says participating companies should be applauded for taking the risk to engage in an open, sleeves-up examination of their approach to corporate responsibility.
She says in an era where business is calling for reductions in regulation, a demonstration by companies to voluntarily manage and disclose their performance deserves recognition in providing a viable alternative.
The results for the 2005 Corporate Responsibility Index will be published in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers on 15 May 2006.