Executive Briefings

Those Corporate Sustainability Reports Sound Great, But Can You Believe Them?

Incorrect and irrelevant data, unsubstantiated figures and major gaps abound in corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports, according to a forthcoming study from the U.K.'s University of Leeds and France's Euromed Management School.

Leeds' Ralf Barkemeyer told the Guardian that the analysis of more than 4,000 CSR reports, rankings and surveys published by companies over the past 10 years shows that the quality of environmental data "remains appalling at times."

While leaving out an undisclosed part of a company in the calculation of profits would be a scandal in the world of financial reporting, Barkemeyer says, in CSR it is common practice.

The study from Leeds' Sustainability Research Institute will show that out of 443 European Union companies, fewer than one in six covered all corporate activities in their reporting of greenhouse gas emissions. Barkemeyer said CSR rankings, ratings and surveys often focus on whether companies report rather than what they report.

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Incorrect and irrelevant data, unsubstantiated figures and major gaps abound in corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports, according to a forthcoming study from the U.K.'s University of Leeds and France's Euromed Management School.

Leeds' Ralf Barkemeyer told the Guardian that the analysis of more than 4,000 CSR reports, rankings and surveys published by companies over the past 10 years shows that the quality of environmental data "remains appalling at times."

While leaving out an undisclosed part of a company in the calculation of profits would be a scandal in the world of financial reporting, Barkemeyer says, in CSR it is common practice.

The study from Leeds' Sustainability Research Institute will show that out of 443 European Union companies, fewer than one in six covered all corporate activities in their reporting of greenhouse gas emissions. Barkemeyer said CSR rankings, ratings and surveys often focus on whether companies report rather than what they report.

Read Full Article