Non-financial reporting is more than a component of being a responsible company. It has become an integral part of every company’s relationship with employees, suppliers, customers, investors and communities. In fact it has become critical to a company’s credibility, transparency and endurance.
CSR reports in Belgium
Many of the organisations we work with invest a lot of time in CSR reporting, yet in the end it appears they do not communicate enough, or at least not efficiently enough. Reporting practices remain very traditional, a CSR report should not be something companies do “on the side”, but should be at the core of the business. The CSR reporting should therefore be just as visible as the other aspects of the company.
Are all CSR reports the same?
CSR reports are very different from company to company, reflecting the uniqueness of each business and industry, Umicore is completely different from e.g. UCB. We want to deliver a strong message through effective communication. We use the medium that best delivers the message, be it PR, print, electronic or otherwise. The net result is a solution that is tailored to specific needs.
We help our clients to communicate on 6 CSR domains, Management systems, Environment, Supply chain, Employees, Health & safety and Community support via our In-house corporate communication specialists and storytelling with a focus on delivering excellent and measurable results.
The best reports rely on effective storytelling to communicate key messages with clarity and impact. We use a strong cover, theme and framework.
We focus attention on what matters most with distinctive covers, themes and investment arguments. E.g. the report cover is a critical opportunity to stand out from the crowd and make sure your carefully crafted content will see the light of day. The best ones make use of striking visuals, unique messages and original design. A well conceived theme is the backbone of a good report. It should provide a clear and compelling framework for understanding your most important messages. The report should make it easy to understand performance in the context of key strategies and objectives. The best reports respond with reassuring themes and straightforward language that spoke to long-term industry fundamentals and corporate strengths.
67% have a cover theme or message
12% publish a glossary of terms
60 pages average number of pages for separated CSR reports
47% publish 2 reports in 1 (annual report and CSR report combined)
Online or paper?
The printed annual report still plays a vital role. The importance of the corporate website has continued to grow as the primary channel for investor communications. That makes sense given its capacity for information and the immediacy with which that information can be disseminated. Despite these advantages, however, the web remains a passive medium in the sense that it has absolutely no impact unless investors choose to use it.
A well-designed online report takes advantage of web technology to offer improved accessibility to information. The best online annual reports are much more than re-purposed print documents. They are designed to take advantage of the unique capabilities of web-based communication.
While most public companies simply post PDFs of the annual report on their websites, producing a full HTML version is the best practice approach. An online report is easier to view and navigate with features such as variable text size, hyperlinks to related information and sophisticated search functions. The best also make use of online technology to create a dynamic and entertaining experience.
98% of the reports refer to the website
74% present additional CSR information on their website
56% have a CSR or sustainable development rubric on their home page
37% specifically ask for reactions and comments from the readers