• mark goldstone

Corporate Social Responsibility in 2020 – It’s All About Transparency

Updated: Jun 26, 2019

Here at Circle Squared we spend a great deal of time analysing sustainability reports - a lot of reports! Our purpose is to simplify this information to aid consumers with purchase decisions.

From this extensive trawling we notice both the bad and the good, but if we could identify the one key issue for 2020 it would be simple – transparency. We (and the public) want to be able to compare similar companies.

Here a few common transparency issues that we would love to see improved upon in 2020:

1. Reporting carbon emissions as a percentage reduction without disclosing absolute emissions. This can be misleading because if a business’ emissions are high prior to reduction, though welcome, this is not a reliable indicator for good performance.

2. Please report your water usage in cubic meters used. It’s not that complicated really, however the waffle in some reports is both astonishing and potentially misleading.

3. What percentage of your profits did you give to good causes? It’s great that your staff and customers raised £XX – good for them! This is not at all the same thing as what the company contributed.

4. Please do tell us about the wonderful good causes you have supported and tell us how much you spent – again simple!

5. Equality issues – just tell us your gender pay gap and the percentage of women and minorities in both board and senior management positions, it’s not that hard!

None of this is complex. However, the lengthy verbal and statistical gymnastics performed in some reports leaves us wondering what these companies are trying to hide. Conversely simple statements of performance demonstrate a confident approach that in turn creates a perception of a company likely to succeed even if they are starting from a challenging position.

We believe business can be a key force for good in the 21st century. Circle Squared exists to provide analytics to companies to help them plan.

Trust us in 2020 if you’re not transparent you are behind the curve.