This is the first review of a CSR report and I will follow a clear format every time. I will have a headline with the key factor that is being reviewed followed by the text and a 1 out 10 points rating. At the moment I have 10 review points in total. This review is not intended to be academic or systematic but rather a good look into the topics and issues that matter for you as the reader and stakeholder. In the end every individual has a different opinion. This is mine.

I am also following one important premise: Keep it short and simple.

So here we go.

The 2007/2008 CSR Report of AllianceBoots – a large is a leading international pharmacy-led health and beauty group in the UK.
CSR Report URL: AllianceBoots CSR Report 2007/2008

Reporting Period
10/10
Alliance Boots reports annually. This is best practice. Well done.

Topics & Clarity
7/10 points
The categorization of the four areas of reporting in: Marketplace, Environment, Workplace and Community is very rigid and really not very innovative. This would need to be changed to provide more stakeholder focused information in my opinion. Best practice shows that this is not the ideal way of structuring a CSR report.
But this is a globally accepted approach to categorize your activities in this manner. Not the best choice in my opinion but still worth 7 out of 10 as they are showing that they approach CSR in a structured fashion.

Reporting Of The Material Issues
5/10 points
They have pretty much included all material issues in their business but the discussion is not extensive enough to give full marks. Addressing all the topics is one thing. Discussing them in an appropriate way is another.

Reporting Of Performance Indicators
4/10 points
Alliance Boots has chosen to report on their performance from last year to this. This is a shame as they should thrive for reporting that includes previous years as well. This would have given the user a better indication how they are doing in the long run. In terms of where the performance is reporting is Alliance Boots okay but not really special. They have a special performance section in the navigation and a 2007/08   in every category. But this is not useful in my opinion. Especially as the seperate performance section is not extensive enough to provide appropriate insides in their performance.

Reporting According To The GRI G3
8/10
Very extensive and well presented. This is best practice. The only thing that is missing are the comments. This would have given us more insights.

Reference To Other Parts Of Their Website
5/10
The important thing here is to provide further links inside the specific CSR sections to other places on the corporate website. This is not the case with this report. 5 points because this is a micro site within the corporate website which is a start to linking it within the website.

Which Communication Tools Are They Using?
2/10
Another weak point in my opinion. They are not using anything in terms of communication tools. Not even a feedback page. 2 points for having a micro site and not just an integration in their corporate website.

CSR Report Contact: An Actual Contact person or Just An Email Address?
0/10
Just a anonymous email. Not a good idea.

Do They Provide Information What They May Have Omitted?
0/10
I have not seen anything stating that they might have omitted something. I think this is a must

Assurance: Has The CSR Report been Assured By An External Auditor?
0/10
No assurance. This is not good. Their stakeholders will ask themselves as a consequence: How credible is this report? Are they telling us the truth?

Total points for the AllianceBoots 2007/2008 CSR Report:

41/100

Overall Opinion: The report is not bad but not good either. Just below average. And when we take a look at the reports of AllianceBoots over the previous years (CSR Report 2006) then we need to ask them what their intention with this latest report is. They are definitely taking a step back with this report in my opinion.

No Comments

  1. hi fabian, great summary. I havent looked at the report in depth yet, but i will take a look. I am interested to know why you dont think the 4 sections marketplace, workplace, community and environment is a reasonable structure. You said : Best practice shows that this is not the ideal way of structuring a CSR report.

    Whay is this not ideal and what do you consider to be best practice ?

    thanks, elaine

  2. hi fabian, great summary. I havent looked at the report in depth yet, but i will take a look. I am interested to know why you dont think the 4 sections marketplace, workplace, community and environment is a reasonable structure. You said : Best practice shows that this is not the ideal way of structuring a CSR report.
    Whay is this not ideal and what do you consider to be best practice ?
    thanks, elaine

  3. Author

    Hello Elaine,

    I think that the 4 sections structure is a thing of the past. Why? Well because these four sections are to rigid for properly display and communicate what the key issues, challenges and achievements of the particular company are. I believe that this structure could be beneficial for a company that is starting out in CSR reporting but AllianceBoots is not starting out. They have been reporting for many years now. I think they could have benefited from going away from that structure to a more company specific structure.

    Do you agree?

    Regards,

    Fabian

  4. Hello Elaine,
    I think that the 4 sections structure is a thing of the past. Why? Well because these four sections are to rigid for properly display and communicate what the key issues, challenges and achievements of the particular company are. I believe that this structure could be beneficial for a company that is starting out in CSR reporting but AllianceBoots is not starting out. They have been reporting for many years now. I think they could have benefited from going away from that structure to a more company specific structure.
    Do you agree?
    Regards,
    Fabian

  5. Fabian

    Nice summary of AllianceBoot's CSR report. I think that looking at a company's CSR report is an important exercise but isn't the only or primary consideration in assessing a company. I would characterize CSR reporting as "policy" and the company's actual behavior as "practice." For instance, what is the company's record with respect to its workforce? Does it operate in countries that have a record of acceptable human rights? Have there been labor problems in any of the company's global locations? Problems with stakeholders?

    Best

    John

  6. Fabian

    Nice summary of AllianceBoot’s CSR report. I think that looking at a company’s CSR report is an important exercise but isn’t the only or primary consideration in assessing a company. I would characterize CSR reporting as “policy” and the company’s actual behavior as “practice.” For instance, what is the company’s record with respect to its workforce? Does it operate in countries that have a record of acceptable human rights? Have there been labor problems in any of the company’s global locations? Problems with stakeholders?

    Best

    John

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