- 100% of UK’s Top 100 Companies report on Corporate Responsibility
- Nearly half of G250 companies secure financial value from CR reporting
Nearly every Global Fortune 250 (G250) company now reports its corporate responsibility activity, with the UK topping the global ranking according to the KPMG International Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2011.
In what KPMG believes to be the most comprehensive survey of corporate responsibility (CR) reporting ever published, data was analysed from 3,400 companies worldwide, including the G250 and the largest 100 companies across 34 countries and 15 industry sectors.
The survey found that CR reporting is now undertaken by 95 percent of the G250, and 64 percent of the largest 100 companies (N100) in each country, representing increases of 14 and 11 percent respectively since KPMG’s previous survey in 2008. Almost half (47 percent) of the G250 companies report gaining financial value from their CR initiatives.
Vincent Neate, who leads KPMG’s UK Climate Change & Sustainability practice, said: “It’s heartening to find that without exception, the UK’s largest companies are monitoring and reporting on their CR behaviour. This year’s clean sheet is up nine percent from the 91 percent that reported in 2008.
“It’s the latest indicator of CR’s move up the corporate agenda which is entirely sensible given its relationship to sound commercial concerns such as cost reduction, risk management, regulatory compliance and brand enhancement.
“This report bears out the view that one of the effects of the volatility and tough trading conditions of recent years has been to make companies keener to measure, evaluate and articulate their activities around sustainability and social responsibility. As well as enhancing the value of their brands it can also show that they are investing time and money wisely.
“Further weight is thrown behind the assertion that CR initiatives have moved from being a moral to a critical business imperative through the finding that almost half of the G250 companies report gaining financial value from their CR,” he added.
Further key findings:
- With 99 percent of its largest companies reporting, Japan is second to the UK in the global ranking;
- South Africa’s King Corporate Governance Commission code likely accounts for the sharp increase in CR reporting, rising to third place 97 percent, from 45 percent in 2008;
- The Americas, at 69 percent overall (led by Brazil at 88 percent followed by the US at 83 percent) and the Middle East and Africa region (61 percent) are quickly gaining ground;
- China, new to the survey this year, demonstrates rapid uptake with 60 percent of its largest companies reporting on CR;
- Lowest ranked were New Zealand and Chile (27 percent), India (20 percent) and Israel (18 percent);
- Australia passed the midpoint on CR reporting, increasing from 45 to 57 percent;
- Nordic countries saw a sharp rise in CR reporting with the change attributed to heightened public interest in CR issues as well as government regulation;
- Reporting by pharmaceuticals, consumer markets, and construction industries more than doubled since 2008.
In the absence of a regulatory global sustainability reporting standard, the drive for consistency and accessibility to quality data was highlighted in the findings. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines are used by 80 percent of the G250 and 69 percent of N100 companies and is gaining widespread adoption as the de facto reporting standard.
Wim Bartels, Global Head of KPMG’s Sustainability Assurance, said the global momentum in corporate responsibility demands both higher quality CR information and greater use of assurance to maintain standards and stakeholder confidence:
“Unlike financial reporting, the disclosure of sustainability metrics to the market is largely unregulated. Restatements are four times higher compared to financial reporting and demonstrate that CR reporting has some way to go.”
Those companies that engaged formal assurance professionals were twice as likely to restate their reports as those without, demonstrating that assurance providers are demanding higher quality data, also signifying the need for increased focus on internal processes.
“The time has now come to enhance CR reporting information systems to bring them up to the level that is equal to financial reporting, including a comparable quality of governance controls and management,” urged Mr. Bartels.
Further figures with respect to assurance are:
- 51 percent of mining and 46 percent of utility companies conduct assurance with numbers dwindling across other sectors;
- 46 percent of G250 and 38 percent of N100 companies use assurance as a strategy for verifying CR reporting,
- India (80 percent) and South Korea (75 percent) lead the way in assurance with the UK well above the global average at 58 percent.
Mr Bartels said that when it comes to CR reporting uptake, size matters: “The findings show that bigger companies are twice as likely to report as those with revenues under US $1 billion. This also presents an opportunity for smaller companies to leverage the benefits of CR reporting as a financial and reputational differentiator.”
About the Survey
The KPMG International Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2011 was designed to examine reporting trends among the world’s largest companies. It is the seventh in a series conducted by KPMG and various partners since 1993 and is issued every three years. Thirty-four of KPMG’s member firms participated in this study including: Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the United States. Analysts searched only publicly available information such as websites, corporate responsibility reports, and financial reports, and collected information on over 34 data points from each company associated with corporate responsibility reporting, standards, process, drivers, and issues. The sample included the Global Fortune 250 (2010), and the 100 largest companies by revenue from 34 countries.
For media enquiries contact:
Caroline Baldwin, Global Media Relations Director, Climate Change & Sustainability, KPMG
T: + 31 20 656 2946
Alison Anderson, PR manager, KPMG
T: 0113 254 2980