Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasingly becoming a fundamental
initiative for many businesses. Driven by the development of social media, stakeholder
expectations (especially those of investors) and legal compliance, businesses are
now required to be transparent, to communicate any issues with products and suppliers,
and to produce sustainability strategies to try and counteract these issues.
The emergence of mobile devices means that the pressure on businesses to demonstrate
good practice has increased. Consumers now have quick and easy access to all sorts
of information, as a simple search on a mobile phone or tablet enables a consumer
to make an informed and speedy choice about a product they wish to purchase or a
business they are looking to deal with. This pressure has created the need for companies
to be more transparent and for them to take action where necessary.
Last year a number of companies integrated CSR into business strategies and publicised
actions. For example, in response to consumers’ increasing awareness of food sustainability,
the food and beverage industry responded with a number of initiatives. These included
charitable initiatives for excess food products and coalitions that committed to
support 100% sustainable palm oil.
More companies now publicly support the
Development Goals and have integrated these into corporate strategies.
Incorporating these goals will provide companies with a clear structure for corporate
reporting and will enable companies to demonstrate action on global priorities.
Many companies are taking steps to be more transparent about environmental and
social performance within supply chains, as well as making significant efforts to
demonstrate responsible sourcing practices. Marks & Spencer is one such company
that launched an interactive supplier map for this very reason, and on 30 January their Director of Sustainability, Mark Barry, sent the following tweets from the Marks & Spencer Human Rights Conference in India:
"Transparency is key to putting Human Rights at the heart of how business does business."
"Partnership is vital to M&S’s approach to human rights."
"Business can only protect human rights by rigorous risk mapping, policies and audit."
EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive
2017 to 2018 will be the first reporting year for companies affected by the
EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive. This Directive requires
large public interest companies, with more than 500 employees, to disclose social
and environmental performance.
Although the UK has already implemented the Companies Act, which requires large
companies to cover certain non-financial matters in strategic reports, the new Directive
means that additional requirements will need to be met and further information will
need to be provided. For example, detail on how policies addressing diversity will
What should your company be doing?
With the emergence of new legislation and increasing external pressures, what
can your business do to prepare for more performance reporting?
I have put together the following checklist to help get you started:
- Get a grasp of stakeholder expectations. What will your customers and shareholders
want to know about your company?
- Identify any changes your business wants to make and how they plan to achieve
these. Don’t try and tackle every issue at once. Instead identify meaningful
targets that relate to the actions the business can take and change you can
- Prepare for additional reporting requirements by implementing performance
measures and putting together a robust data collection plan
How Valpak can help
Valpak has extensive experience in gathering and analysing packaging data; therefore,
my team have been having discussions with companies that are looking to collect
‘additional’ data to meet the requirements of areas such as FSC, REACH, conflict
minerals, the Modern Slavery Act and supplier performance on ethical issues.
These discussions mirror wider trends, as companies wish to improve data reporting
to aid performance management.
If you would like to know more about our
Data Management Services and
Data Management portal visit our web pages or contact us on 01789 208