Corporate responsibility reporting evolving into mainstream practice: Survey

Over three-quarters of Canada’s top 100 companies report on CR practices

Reporting on corporate responsibility (CR) practices has become a mainstream business practice over the past two decades, according to the most recent KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting.

Over three-quarters (83 per cent) of Canada’s top 100 companies now engage in corporate responsibility reporting, found the survey. That number is up from 79 per cent in 2011.

The survey analyzed trends across 41 countries and provides insights as to how Canadian companies can improve their corporate responsibility reporting.

"Corporate responsibility reporting is now a standard business practice across the country, and companies that do not publish a report may be putting themselves at risk of falling behind their competitors,” said Bill Murphy, partner and national leader, Climate Change and Sustainability Services at KPMG.

“The important questions to now ask are 'what are our most significant environmental and social impacts?', 'how are we managing these?' and 'how should we report our performance and progress?'”

Key implications in the report include:

Supply chain reporting needs more focus: Many companies — particularly those with significant supply chain risks, like chemicals, utilities, oil and gas — had low levels of reporting on supply chain issues.

Reporting financial risks: Many larger companies are not reporting on the potential financial impact of the risks to their businesses from environmental and social factors. Oil and gas as well as financial services are the sectors that had the best financial risk reporting.

Corporate governance: Less than one-quarter of the large global companies surveyed reported a clear link between CR reporting and executive compensation. Linking CR strategy to performance-based executive renumeration will become a growing trend in Canada.

Third party assurance gains acceptance: It is an increasingly common practice to have CR and sustainability data externally assured. In 2011, 21 per cent of companies included a formal assurance statement whereas in 2013, 34 per cent of companies did.

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