Who really reads CSR reports? Do investors really use them? I heard speakers from Intel, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Merck & Co., and CalSTRS offer differing answers to these questions during a panel on CSR reporting at the recent Financial Times Conference “Investing in a Sustainable Future.”
Merck’s Director of Corporate Responsibility Maggie Kohn seemed skeptical that CSR reports are reaching intended audiences. She cited a Corporate Register report which identified investors as the third largest group of readers (12 percent), behind fellow CSR reporters and consultants and service providers.
But others were more upbeat about the value that CSR reports deliver to certain stakeholders, a feeling shared by Mike Wallace, GRI Director of Sustainability Reporting Framework groups. Investors are becoming a more important report audience, in light of developments. Wallace cited growing evidence that investors are hungry for environment, health, and safety (ESG) metrics and GRI performance indicators. Financial information providers –- and CSR reports — are feeding that demand for ESG data.Click to continue reading »