Corporate Citizenship Reporting Seen Playing Larger Role in Global Companies' Strategies

Successful enterprises integrating reports into their basic missions, The Conference Board finds

Successful enterprises integrating reports into their basic missions, The Conference Board finds

New York  August 26, 2005  Successful global companies are integrating the reporting of their corporate citizenship activities into their firms' basic business missions, according to a report released today by The Conference Board.

The companies that have best adapted their businesses are reporting that setting goals, measuring performance and assessing the degree of compliance are vital to the successful implementation of citizenship initiatives.

The Conference Board report describes how five of the most successful companies' reporting practices have been integrated into their firms:

  • BP  offers a detailed discussion of the impact of this energy company's fuels and other products on the environment.

  • HP  employs its technology expertise to pursue "e-inclusion" initiatives to bridge the digital divide not just in the United States but also in less-developed countries.

  • Novo Nordisk  evaluates the impact of the fight against diabetes and its other healthcare programs on the health of people worldwide.

  • Procter & Gamble  conducts a product life cycle assessment to ensure that its consumer products are manufactured, used and disposed of in a responsible manner.

  • UPS  strives to realize operational efficiencies in the transportation and logistics services that it provides to customers, while minimizing the company's impact on the environment.
While these companies are from different industries, there are some common themes that run through their practices on corporate citizenship reporting.

For example, citizenship values are reflected in the discussion of each company's core values. Because they are so central to the firm's mission, these values are highly integrated into the firm's operations and are given heavy weight in corporate governance.

In addition, each company makes extensive use of internal audits, internal and external benchmarking, and continuous improvement metrics (such as a balanced scorecard) to continually raise the bar on its citizenship performance. There is a high degree of transparency in the setting of targets and detailed reporting on the degree of attainment of targets in communicating with stakeholders.

The companies also have incorporated widely recognized standards into their reporting and assessment efforts, including the Global Reporting Initiative, the AccountAbility 1000 standards, ISO 14001 on environmental impact, the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Labor Organization's Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy.

Companies are increasingly making use of independent auditors (such as major accounting firms or nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs) to monitor and report on their performance with regard to these standards.

"Looking to the future, the biggest growth area is likely to be in applying best practices in corporate citizenship reporting across the 'extended enterprise,'" says Amy Kao, author of the report and a consultant in global corporate citizenship at The Conference Board. "Increasingly, companies believe that they will be evaluated not just on their own performance but on their ability to ensure that their suppliers also adhere to acceptable standards of corporate citizenship."

Additional Articles of Interest

 To go the distance in business you need to take a disciplined approach. Supply & Demand Chain Executive offers key best practices for making your supply chain hum in the article "7 Habits of Highly Efficient Supply & Demand Chains," the cover story in the April/May 2005 issue of the magazine, featuring an interview with supply chain guru Jim Tompkins of Tompkins Associates.

 Words of wisdom from one university professor go a long way to help business students excel in supply chain management. Read "Interview with Dr. John T. Mentzer: Teaching Supply Chain" in the June/July 2005 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

 How are outsourcing and supply chain tasks such as purchasing and inventory management tied to "network-centric operations?" What is a network-centric operation? Read the article "The Future of Supply Chain Management: Network-centric Operations and the Supply Chain" to find out.