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Reporting and Accounting Standard Lays Groundwork for Managing Corporate Social Responsibility
In summary, as the old maxim, "What gets measured, gets managed" suggests, measurement has become crucial, not only to monitor and report on the company¹s progress, but also to provide reliable, credible metrics that show how sustainable business practices improve a company¹s performance. Strategically-minded companies and investors are realising that not only is there public demand for them to put money where their mouth is, but that they can only manage effectively what they can measure.
Many corporations -- recent estimates suggest almost half of the Fortune 500 -- are now compiling and issuing annual reports that provide details about their environmental and social behaviour. Sustainability is a mindset that requires us to look at the world differently, to think in a "cyclic" rather than a "linear" way. The Triple Bottom Line paradigm requires focus not only on financial returns to shareholders but also on non-financial returns to "stakeholders". Regardless of short-term shareholder value organizations are increasingly being asked to do the "right thing" by the environment and society.
However, in order to be useful, much work still needs to be done toward establishing standardized, consistent measurement and reporting methods. Moreover, verification of the information by independent third parties is also needed. The time has come for companies claiming to be responsible to move beyond 'green-wash' towards true sustainability and social responsibility.
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