What do you expect from the 2011 CSR / Sustainability reporting season?

2011 has only just started and I am already expecting some interesting companies to  publish their CSR / Sustainability reports shortly. Novo Nordisk is one of them for example.

But the question for today’s blog post is what you expect from 2011 the upcoming CSR / Sustainability reporting season. Do you feel that we have an innovate year in front of us or will 2011 be a year of transition where finally integrated reporting will make a proper splash in our CSR / Sustainability reporting world for example?

Here is what I think (I guess you saw that one coming). 😉

CSR / Sustainability Reporting in 2011 – My expectations

  • The continued rise of Integrated Reporting: GRI and Integrated Reporting will be as big a topic in 2011 as it was in 2010 since the GRI is now fully committed to push integrated reporting. What the result will be is another question but I believe that integrated reporting will be as huge as a topic in 2011.
  • Interactivity and Social Media: An increased interactivity with social media sites such a Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn will give CSR / Sustainability Reports a whole now look and feel about them. The danger here is that if a company decides to go down the social media integration route it needs to be innovative and forward thinking. A half-hearten approach will most likely not be successful.
  • Most will be online but print will stay as well: The vast majority of reports will be even more extensive online in terms of content. The printed report will not be as comprehensive. But a printed brochure or short report will still be something each organization needs to produce in my view.
  • Another year of records: I am not sure about the total numbers but I am certain that we will see another record breaking year in terms of the number of companies producing CSR / Sustainability reports.

These are four my expectations for 2011. What are yours?

Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/juhansonin/5135576565

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  1. Outstanding this post about reporting. i believe you are right in your assessment. We will see some very serious works from IIRC together with GRI-it better- It makes no sense to have isolated reports which are a pure translation of the traditional CSR isolation with the mainstream. The accounting bodies will help us a lot I guess. in 2015 there should be no single Sustainability report and if it does the company will probably be derated in terms of ESG. Ha!!!


  2. Sorry but i didnt ask you to please check our sustainability blog experiment. Its no good but we are fully committed to improve it. If you send me your thoughts i would love it.

    Thanks so much and have a great week end!

  3. Hi Fabian, interesting post, I agree with your predictions, especially regarding GRI & Integrated Reporting. On the "social media" part I also see agree that we'll see an increase in the use of Twitter, FB and other media, as companies will try to make their CSR/sustainability efforts more visible and their reports more interactive. I was wondering if we'll also see the development of specific apps, for iPod, iPad, BB etc for those reports. I believe so…I recently reviewed on my blog the Pernod Ricard's Annual Report iPad App, especially the CSR part, which is quite impressive and I've noticed that many searches on Google or WordPress were leading to my post with key words such as "annual report iPad"' "CSR app" etc… It seems that there's an audience for such a medium that can help companies to meet the two goals I was mentioning above, visibility and interaction.
    You can read my blog post here: http://aequology.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/a-susta

    1. Thanks for the comment Frederic and really interesting point about the apps and portable devices. I agree that they will be a factor but I also think that these devices and apps are a more of a factor in 2012 for example as more and more people now start purchase iPads and similar devices.
      Interesting link. I need to investigate this. 🙂

  4. Nice Read Fabian. I like Frederics social media take on this as well. I've been exploring the intersect between supply chain, CSR reporting and materiality. Since 2010 saw such a steep ramp up in supply chain accounting, I see a trend toward more materiality assessments that call out supply chain issues as 'material' to operations and to stakeholder engagement. Hopefully this will translate into deeper, more meaningful stakeholder engagement along the entire value chain. My latest blog post on "First Movers" Use Materiality Analysis to Link Sustainability, Supply Chain Management & CSR is at http://bit.ly/gWjc1W.

    Keep on asking those thought provoking questions! Best, Dave

    1. Thanks for the comment and link Dave. I will have a closer look at your article. And be assured that I will continue to ask provocative questions. I feel that this is very much needed in times when so much marketing information is floating around and it get harder and harder to find the information you really need.

    2. Thanks Dave! Your post on materiality is a must read. I had to explain the concept the other day and your way to clarify it + the graph (impact on business/stakeholder's concerns) made it very easy to understand. I usually show the spanish Telco company Telefónica's 2009 sustainability report as an example as well. Thanks Fabian for this open space for debate/ideas/thoughts..

      1. For me the CSR Atlas from Telefónica is far the best practice. The transparency is from an unknow quality, showing for example the sickness rate or energy use for each single country.

  5. I am afraid the number of integrated reports will grow in 2011. This will lead to more boring reports, that hardly anyone reads.
    My hope for CSR reporting relies on the growing number of companies that write smaller CSR reports, combined with a vast data report to capture GRI.

    I have no great expectations of social new media when it comes to CSR Reporting, for 2011. Social new media is still relatively new, and probably too dangerous for huge organisations to burn their hands upon. Between the agility of SNM and the well thought CSR publications are separated with a gap that I do not expect to be closed by many in 2011.

    The challenge for web-reporting is not in the technique. It's all there. The process that slows web-reporting down is to be found in the audits. External auditors need companies to create stable reports. The flexibility in internet reporting will be difficult to handle. Maybe there is an industry coming for auditors that are willing to update their audit every month.

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