Corporates Missing Community Benefit Reporting
9 July 2010 at 2:24 pm
Leading Australian companies are failing to measure the community benefits that flow from their corporate community engagement according to a new research paper.
The paper, by research academic at the Centre for Social Impact, Gianni Zappala and Denni Arli explores the strategies, structures, measurement and patterns of corporate community involvement (CCI) among a group of 52 leading companies in Australia and New Zealand.
The findings are based on data from the St James Ethics Centre Corporate Responsibility Index since 2003.
While the research reports finds that the majority of companies have developed strategies, management targets and structures and processes to address community issues, the emphasis remains on the measurement of inputs to the company i.e. the dollar cost and staff time involved, while fewer companies measure CCI outputs and outcomes in terms of leverage, community and business benefits.
As well while most companies publicly report on their Corporate Community Involvement the content remains on inputs rather than on the community benefit and few have an independent assurance process of their CCI programs.
On the positive side, the research says companies are taking a strategic approach to these partnerships with over three quarters of participants indicating that most of their partnerships have clearly set and agreed objectives, terms of involvement and measures to evaluate the success of the project.
Dr Zappala says almost two-thirds of companies measured their inputs in terms of cash, with just under half of companies measuring staff time and management costs, and fewer still measuring inputs in terms of in-kind gifts across most of their operations.
He says a sizeable proportion of companies, from one third to almost half did not measure any of their inputs into community investment at all.
The report can be downloaded here.