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KPMG International Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2008

Submitted by: KPMG Sustainability - The Netherlands

Categories: Research, Reports & Publications, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Oct 28, 2008 – 01:00 PM EST


New KPMG Survey Finds Corporate Responsibility Reporting and Assurance mainstreaming among the World’s Largest Companies.

Amsterdam.- October 28, 2008 - Eighty percent of the Global Fortune 250 now release corporate responsibility information in stand alone reports or integrated with annual financial reports, up from 50 percent in the three years since KPMG last conducted its survey in 2005.

The "KPMG International Survey on Corporate Responsibility Reporting" is the most comprehensive conducted on this subject to date. In addition to the Global Fortune 250, the sample also included the 100 largest companies by revenue in 22 countries. National level companies trail the Global 250 with an average of 45 percent issuing reports, but numbers vary widely from country to country. For example less than 20 percent of large companies in Mexico and Czech Republic issue reports, but well over 90 percent of companies in Japan and the United Kingdom do so.

The survey reveals that about half of the Global 250 has detected the business opportunities of corporate responsibility and report on the business value. One third of companies cited shareholder value as a driver for reporting.

With these results the KPMG Survey shows that sustainability reporting is now becoming a mainstream business issue for many of the world's largest companies – although the level of integration into annual reporting shows considerable room for improvement.

They survey also looked into assurance trends. The number of companies that utilize formal assurance with their corporate responsibility reporting made a significant jump to 40 percent this year after holding steady at 30 percent in the 2002 and 2005 versions of the survey. Top drivers for assurance cited by companies in the sample included improving report quality and reinforcing credibility among stakeholders.

"But the true judges of a company's report quality are its readers" said Wim Bartels, Global Head of KPMG's Sustainability Services. The Survey was expanded this year to probe the depth of stakeholder involvement in corporate responsibility strategy and reporting. "Our findings show that stakeholder engagement is becoming more formalized, but that there is still room for greater transparency about who stakeholders are and how their concerns are being addressed" continued Bartels.

In addition to tracking the increase in reporting and assurance over time, the survey examined key topics in reporting such as corporate governance, supply chain, and climate change. Key findings from the Global 250 sample on these topics include:

  • 92 percent disclose a code of conduct or ethics, but less than 60 percent report on non-compliance with the code

  • Over 90 percent have a supply chain code of conduct, but only half disclose details of how it is implemented and monitored

  • 60 percent report on new business opportunities associated with climate change, but 41 percent of the Global 250 and 62 percent of the 100 largest companies by country do not report on their carbon footprint.
The survey also looked at the process behind reporting to see whether reporting standards were being used and whether reporting was a part of a larger strategy and management system for corporate responsibility overall. Fully three quarters of Global 250 have a corporate responsibility strategy in place, and the same number use the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines as the basis for their reporting.

Overall, the Survey found that companies are moving toward a more strategic approach to corporate responsibility management and reporting, and a maturing of the practice seems to be occurring. Top drivers for reporting cited by companies were ethical considerations and innovation – two aspects that will be key to helping companies steer to success through the challenges in today's prevailing economic climate.


About KPMG
KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. There are over 123,000 professionals working in over 140 countries worldwide.

About the Survey
The KPMG International Survey on Corporate Responsibility Reporting was designed to examine reporting trends among the world’s largest companies. It is the sixth in a series conducted by KPMG and various partners since 1993 and is issued every three years. Twenty-two of KPMG’s member firms voluntarily participated in this study including: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the United States. Analysts searched only publicly available information such as websites, corporate responsibility reports, and financial reports, and collected information on over 50 data points from each company associated with corporate responsibility reporting, standards, process, drivers, and issues. The sample included the Global Fortune 250, and the 100 largest companies by revenue from 22 countries (except Sweden where only the top 70 were examined).

Download the full survey on http://www.kpmg.com/Global/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesAndPublications/Pages/Sustainability-corporate-responsibility-reporting-2008.aspx

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