Make Sustainability Reports Meaningful - Study
18 October 2012 at 9:17 am
Transparency and governance are the most important factors that stakeholders look for in Australian businesses, according to a new CSR study.
The report by the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (ACCSR) called ‘Materiality: A Stakeholders Perspective’, identifies issues that are important to both corporate organisations and stakeholders.
“Materiality is about creating stronger, more relevant reports,” ACCSR Managing Director Leeora Black said.
“Our research shows that companies can derive greater value from strategically engaging stakeholders on material issues. Sustainability reports are strategic opportunities for building and maintaining relationships with stakeholders who actually want more of this engagement.”
She says the aim of the report was to identify the main questions that a stakeholder will look for when reviewing a company’s sustainability report, such as: How were stakeholders consulted and how are issues prioritised?
“It is about striking a balance between providing information that meets all reporting and compliance requirements, but also providing a meaningful account of an organisation’s performance,” Black said.
“One of the litmus tests for materiality and indeed a good report overall, is whether stakeholders consider it to be valuable and relevant.”
Stakeholders want more information about governance practices of corporates and want more transparency, according to the findings.
Percentage of stakeholders who mentioned each theme.
Issues relating to transparency and governance were mentioned more often than any
The report found that the top three issues raised by stakeholders related to local community impacts such as better community engagement, the desire for more locally focused information and the economic impact of operations.The report breaks down stakeholders into five different groups: Community Groups/NGOs, Investors, Employees, Government, Contractors.
The research report is based on more than 250 interviews with stakeholders of reporting organisations in the mining, energy and finance industries.
The report is part of ACCSR’s ‘State of CSR In Australia’ series.
ACCSR helps organisations create lasting value through responsible business strategies and productive stakeholder relationships.