sustain

Corporate Social Investment (CSI) is a critical piece of corporate responsibility in order to show companies and their stakeholders their societal investments. In order for CSI reporting to be thoroughly effective, companies can utilise a framework to properly address their development efforts. CSI reporting can be an influential tool, however, it must be done so accordingly to demonstrate the companies societal awareness of the development programmes they support.


Only 12 out of 72 companies on the JSE SRI were rated 'good' on their corporate social investment (CSI) reporting, according to new analyses by established CSI and sustainability consultancy Trialogue. No companies were rated ‘excellent’.

The CSI Reporting Barometer is featured in the 17th edition of The Trialogue CSI Handbook, released on 2 December 2014. The Barometer is complemented by Trialogue’s primary research, which comprises face-to-face interviews with 99 CSI managers in companies and online surveys with 171 NPOs.

According to Trialogue research, company expenditure on social development in South Africa was estimated at R8.2 billion in 2014. This represents a growth of 4% in nominal terms – a decline of 2% in real terms.

Read more: CSI reporting falls short

Integrated reporting promises to measure the intrinsic value of companies and thereby become a vital tool for the stakeholder group that holds the financial purse-strings-the company’s shareholders. How well are today’s integrated reports measuring up to expectations?

Anyone who has read annual reports for the last decade or two will have noticed a substantial change in the messaging,  the approach and the content of such reporting.

 

Read more: Integrated Reporting: For the shareholders' interest

Corporate reporting on sustainability issues does not always give confidence that companies understand sustainability issues and are managing them effectively. This article provides insights into effective sustainability management, and recommends that companies review their list of sustainability issues and manage those that are most material to the business.

Read more: Manage first – Report later

Tracking the outcomes of social investment is increasingly becoming a shared responsibility between donors and recipients where a common understanding needs to be reached to manage expectations around long-term impact and to extract lessons that will help guide future interventions.

As part of the annual Trialogue Making CSI Matters conference held on 3 and 4 June 2014 in Johannesburg, Trialogue facilitated a lively discussion on ‘measuring outcomes’ that uncovered some diverse views from donors and grantees. The debate sought to challenge practitioners to look beyond compliance and reporting for reporting’s sake, and instead to really interrogate whether the information and data being gathered was being meaningfully accessed.

Read more: Measuring the social change we create through CSI

If reports are to earn the trust of their company’s stakeholders, and become widely used as credible sources of useful information, what should corporate South Africa be doing differently? This article calls for corporate leadership to do the right thing and say it like it is.

In her final column for the Business Report, Ann Crotty tackled the subject of annual reporting credibility with comment on Caxton’s recently released 2013 Annual Report. She begins: “You should know that when Caxton’s annual report can be considered as one of the best to be produced by a JSE-listed company, something has gone horribly wrong with the whole concept of corporate disclosure.”

After debating whether the report is “on the money” or not, she notes that it is a truly wonderful thing that you, the reader, have to trip through only 64 pages to “get the misleading impression that you know something about Caxton”. Meanwhile, “other companies will force you to wade through as many as 600 pages before leaving you with the same misleading impression...”.

Read more: The power of balanced reporting

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