Corporate responsibility reporting is now a standard business practice worldwide

Reporting on corporate responsibility (CR) is now a standard business practice worldwide, undertaken by almost three quarters (71 percent) of analysed companies, according to the 8th KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting published today (9 December 2013).

The 2013 edition of the KPMG survey marks 20 years since the first survey was published in 1993. This year the research is more extensive than ever, covering the top 100 companies by revenue across 41 countries, a total of 4100 companies. The 1993 survey looked at companies in just 10 countries.


Based on KPMG’s survey the number of companies reporting on CR has increased by 7 percentage points since 2011. Among the world’s largest 250 companies (the G250), the CR reporting rate is 93 percent.


“Companies should no longer ask whether or not they should publish a CR report. That debate is over,” said Yvo de Boer, Global Chairman Climate Change & Sustainability Services. “The important questions now are ‘what should we report?’ and ‘how should we report it?’. The challenge for companies is to use the CR reporting process to identify the most important environmental and social issues for their business and stakeholders. They can then bring those issues into the heart of corporate strategy to manage risks, unlock opportunities and build long-term value.”


Over half (51 percent) of the companies worldwide that report on CR now include CR information in their annual financial reports. This is a striking rise since 2011 (when only 20 percent did so) and 2008 (when only 9 percent did).


The KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2013 also explored the quality of CR reporting among the G250 and found:

·        A cluster of 10 companies stood out for the quality of their CR reporting; they were: A.P. Møller Mærsk (Transport - Denmark), BMW (Automotive – Germany), Cisco Systems (Communications & media – USA), Ford Motor Company (Automotive – USA), Hewlett-Packard (Electronics & computers – USA), ING Group (Finance, insurance, & securities – Netherlands), Nestlé (Food & beverages – Switzerland), Repsol  (Oil & gas – Spain), Siemens (Electronics & computers – Germany), and Total (Oil & gas – France). 


·        Only one in five G250 companies (22 percent) reports a clear link between CR performance and executive or employee remuneration.


·        Only one in five G250 companies (23 percent) publishes a well-balanced report that discusses CR challenges and setbacks as well as successes.


·        European companies achieve the highest average quality score for their CR reports at 71 out of 100. This compares with average scores of 54 for companies in the Americas and 50 in Asia Pacific.


·        Most G250 CR reports (87 percent) identify at least some social and environmental changes (or “megaforces”) that are affecting the business. Climate change, material resource scarcity, and energy and fuel are the most commonly mentioned


·        More companies see opportunities than see risks related to CR matters: 81 percent of reporting companies identify business risks from social and environmental factors, whereas slightly more (87 percent) identify commercial opportunities.



Spotlight Romania

The research for Romania’s top 100 companies by revenue (N100) show an increase in the total number of N100 Romanian companies reporting on sustainability, either in a local report or by providing data for a CR Group report, from 53 in 2011 (based on 2009-2010 data) to 69 in the latest survey. The main reason for this progress is that an increasing number of Romanian companies are providing data for their CR Group reports. 


The sources of information for the research conducted in Romania consisted of publicly available information on companies’ most recent Corporate Responsibility (CR)/sustainability reports, CR/sustainability information in the company’s annual report as well as the website information/interactive online CR report, covering either 2012 or 2011.


The results of the survey also point to a difference between multinational companies operating in Romania, which are more active in CR reporting and 100% Romanian capital companies, which are less interested in voluntary disclosure of non-financial information. 


According to the latest results, 33 local companies report information on their sustainability performance, either as a separate CR report or as a section of the annual report.

GRI Guidelines are the most commonly used sustainability reporting framework throughout the world and are recognized as a best practice barometer in this area. However, the reporting principles of these Guidelines are taken into consideration by only 3 out of the 33 companies.


Serban Toader, Senior Partner at KPMG in Romaniaconcludes: “Romanian companies that are reluctant about sustainability reporting may have to reconsider their position as these reports are now mandatory in 10 of the world’s most significant economies and it is expected they will become mandatory in all EU countries. Under current proposals at European level, sustainability reporting would become a legal requirement for large companies (whose average number of employees exceeds 500, or which have either a balance sheet total exceeding 20 million Euros or a net turnover exceeding 40 million Euros). An increasing number of stock exchanges also have listings requirements that include disclosure on companies’ environmental impact and governance.”


“The lack of external assurance for public sustainability reports, or of a third party opinion related to the non-financial information disclosed, clearly indicate that Romanian companies are not yet aware of how such verification can help increase stakeholders’ confidence in the published information,” added Geta Diaconu, Director, Sustainability Services, KPMG Romania


About the Survey

This KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2013 is published primarily for business leaders, company boards as well as CR and sustainability professionals. It provides a snapshot of current global trends in CR reporting with benchmarks, guidance and insights to help companies worldwide determine their own approaches to CR reporting and to assess and improve the quality of their reports. This year the survey, which has been regularly published since 1993, covers a record 41 countries and 4100 companies across 15 industry sectors.

The growth in the number of countries and companies covered in this survey is just one indication of how CR reporting has evolved into a mainstream business practice over the last two decades.