What counts is a careful and fresh look at a broad material that is subject to concrete requirements (coherence with GRI international guidelines). Why is it so important? It’s not enough to say the report is the company’s showpiece, that influences the way the company is seen by investors/customers and is a reliable source of information about the company. We also need to remember that a report, contrary to a standard magazine, is going to live for twelve months. So beware of mistakes and errors and create a publication that will be attractive to readers for this long.
Preparing a sustainable development report, just like with any other publication, means you need to meet the expectations of readers. The Global Reporting Initiative CSR Count me in. The readers’ take on sustainability reporting provide information about the expectations of stakeholders, business and society when reaching for a CSR report. The questionary was conducted among 2,279 respondents. Here’s what you should remember.
Elements of a good report:
1) Linking CSR strategy with company’s general strategy.
2) Being engaged in sustainable development.
3) Long-lasting influence of the company in this area.
4) Actions responding to the problems of sustainable development.
5) Innovative thinking.
6) Relating to local operations.
1) GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines are viewed as the right reporting standard.
2) It is important that stakeholders get more engaged in reporting (the choice of subject matters, providing comments and demonstrating how stakeholders’ opinion is taken into account when it comes to strategy and goals.)
3) Balance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ news is a key element of reliability.
4) Only 450 readers stated they know better, more direct forms of communication with a company than a report.
5) Information should be available in various formats: print, PDF, online communication.
To make reporting a professional and state-of-the-art communication tool, it needs to be prepared together with an experienced agency that will help show the content from the right perspective and give it a clear, attractive form.
This kind of creative and up-to-date attitude is visible in ING Bank Śląski CSR report “The Art of Responsibility” with handwriting font and artwork that has a drawing-like effect. This is the bank’s first report devoted solely to corporate social responsibility, developed in accordance with GRI. The publication has won the Best Debut title in the CSR Reporting Competition 2013 and was among The Top Ten CSR Reports of 2013 on http://csr-reporting.blogspot.co.il. It is available in a dedicated eco print form and as active PDF.