Tips: Telling Your Brand’s Story Through a CSR Report
By Hank Boerner, Chairman, Governance & Accountability Institute for CSRwire
Tell me a story … No matter your age or status, that’s a wonderful incentive to begin a conversation. Everything we do tells a story; if we apply that to the corporation, the story is told through strategies adopted, the corporate culture, the actions of boards, CEOs, the workforce, the capital market valuations, the perceptions and reputation elements shaped — all tell a story and combined, tell the story of the company.
But story telling is an art. Some companies tell their stories quite well using technology and innovation to appeal to their audience. Think of Apple for example. While Apple’s behavior sometimes creates dissonance – and the bad stories emerge, it remains a well loved consumer brand.
Now think of Wal-Mart‘s story: low prices, creation of jobs for more than one million American workers, world-class technology and an enviable supply chain system in place. And then the other story emerges: the reported bribery incidents in Mexico to accelerate expansion in that country, locking in of immigrant workers at night, and more than one million female workers claiming institutional discrimination.
So how do we — as investors, employees, business partners, suppliers, customers, analysts, and public officials charged with oversight– really get into the story and try to decide for ourselves what a company’s story may be telling us?
T’is a challenge, yes?
CSR Reporting is Growing
The good news: corporate kimonos are opening. The publication of corporate sustainability (or responsibility) reports by U.S. corporations (and U.S.-based subsidiaries of non-U.S. companies) is on the increase. Our analysis for reports published in 2011 — include reports published in calendar year 2011 — is at 345 – and we’re half way through 2012 and expect many more reports to be added to our count for 2011.
Meanwhile, our count for 2012 continues as well and the numbers look promising. Of the 345 reports published in 2011, however:
- 273 organizations followed the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework
- 23 referenced the GRI in some way, and
- 49 were non-GRI reports.
Visit CSRwire Talkback to grab the findings of Boerner’s analysis of 273 CSR reports – - and key lessons in effective story telling and telling your brand’s sustainability story.
Published: August 6, 2012 By: