Substantial Rise in Australian CSR Reporting
11 December 2013 at 11:20 am
Australia has experienced a dramatic rise in the rate of Corporate Social Responsibility reporting over the past two years, according to new figures.
The KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2013 found that more than three quarters (83 per cent) of the top 100 companies in Australia by revenue now report on CSR, compared to 57 per cent just two years ago.
It is the largest incremental increase over comparable time periods since 2005, when the reporting rate was 23 per cent.
The research also showed that GRI guidelines remain the dominant reporting framework used in Australia, employed by more than 83 per cent of companies in their reporting.
The study, by audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG, looked at the global state of corporate social responsibility reporting and considered 4,100 companies in 41 countries, including analysis of the quality of reporting among the top 250 companies worldwide by Fortune ranking.
The proportion of Australian companies reporting in 2013 was higher than the 71 per cent rate among world’s top 250 companies.
Globally the greatest growth in reporting has been in the Asia Pacific region where the average rate has increased from 49 per cent two years ago to 71 per cent in the 2013 survey.
In 1993, when the KPMG survey was first published, the average global reporting rate was only 12 per cent.
The study’s analysis of the quality of reporting among the largest 250 companies ranked Australia joint fourth in terms of the quality of its reporting behind Italy, Spain and the UK.
It showed that globally, more companies mentioned the opportunities of environmental and social “megaforces” (such as resource scarcity and climate change) in their reporting than they mentioned risks (87 per cent compared to 81 per cent).
“Corporate responsibility is no longer simply a moral issue and companies recognise this. They increasingly view it as a critical lens on concrete business risks and opportunities,” Yvo de Boer, KPMG’s Global Chairman, Climate Change & Sustainability Services, said.
“It is encouraging to see that large companies are now seeing environmental and social change as a source of opportunity as much as, or more than a source of risk, providing a more rounded view for stakeholders.”
Of the opportunities referred to, innovation and learning is the most commonly mentioned – identified in almost three quarters of G250 CR reports (72 per cent). About half (51 per cent) of reporting companies mention the opportunity to strengthen their brand and about one third (36 per cent) report the opportunity to grow market share.
The research also suggested that only one in 10 (10 per cent) of reporting companies clearly link CSR performance to remuneration, suggesting that many companies are giving executives no incentive to manage social and environmental risks effectively.
The survey has been regularly conducted since 1993.