James Governor's Monkchips

Six Ways To Make CSR Reporting and Strategy Not Suck

Share via Twitter Share via Facebook Share via Linkedin Share via Reddit

I wrote a post yesterday that was long enough some of you might not have gotten to the end of it. But my friend Mark Charmer from Akvo did read it, and called out the salient points. Call it link-baiting, but it strikes me I should take a leaf out of his book. So using the tried and tested x ways to format…

  1. Reporting needs to be an ongoing process and conversation, not a once a year event.
  2. Reporting needs to be more like an app and less like a document.
  3. Data needs to be freely accessible, rather than presented in static form such as in a PDF – organisations should offer sustainability reporting APIs.
  4. Social. Web technologies allow us to put the social into CSR by engaging with a broader range of stakeholders. Integrate with and use tools like Facebook and Twitter.
  5. Sustainability must be tied into general business reporting and strategy.
  6. Sustainability must be a strategic imperative, not a PR-led effort

Related works – SAP’s latest Sustainability Report is teh awesome! Sustainability and CSR Reporting: There’s An App For That. A Letter to SAP and the future and this excellent piece Sustainability reporting in tech companies – the hardware vs software divide.


  1. James — I coudlnt agree more. John Elkington wrote about the strenthening force on the demand side from push to pull reporting. Disclosure – SAP sponsored the study. http://www.volans.com/lab/projects/the-transparent-economy/

  2. so i need to read Volans now, eh? sounds like a greenmonk bird of a feather

  3. Very good points James G and James F!

    I really love this statement: “Reporting needs to be more like an app and less like a document.”

    Imagine the time when we could have an app that provided you the necessary information in that way. That would be a real step forward in my opinion.

    I am obviously a social media geek but once the smart phones are a normality then this is the best way forward for CSR Reporting in my view.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us James G and James F. 😉

  4. Fabian- you’re not wrong. CSR reports need to become CSR apps. i just need to make the argument more clearly.

  5. CSR reporting can be enhanced with apps and input from the general public using social media. Members of the general public should be able to contribute their perspective or experience with a company and its products/services. Some of this feedback may be useful in a CSR report.

    1. jonathan lake- thats exactly right. a broader range of stakeholders. see SAP’s 2009 report for an example.

  6. JG..
    Love the thoughts, we have a lot in common in our thinking. It is a reality sooner than most think. Please reach out to me, I have an idea you may find of interest kicking around.

  7. […] borrow a vision on CSR reporting from a recent post by James Governor at Red Monk […]

  8. James,

    Excellent list — overlaps significantly with the findings and recommendations of the May 2010 report Marcy Murninghan and I wrote for Harvard’s CSR Initiative, The Accountability Web, which includes significant coverage of the history and future of sustainability reporting as well as “blended” (in-person + online) stakeholder engagement:


    Marcy and I are currently working on another report that asks, among other things, if a sustainability taxonomy for XBRL (like the one GRI floated in 2006 and has since been slow on updating, despite lots of polite prodding by me and others — including the current edition of Ethical Performance:
    http://www.ethicalperformance.com/news/article.php?articleID=6733 (registration required)) might help move the field forward more efficiently and effectively, essentially giving users the tools to scrutinize, benchmark, compare, etc… sustainability reports across years, companies, sectors — and even “integrating” this with XBRL-tagged financial data.

    Whatta ya think?

    Bill Baue
    twitter: @bbaue

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *