CR Perspectives - the Inside Story on CR Reporting in 2013

New report reveals global trends and views on CR reporting
Nov 19, 2013 8:50 AM ET

London, November  19, 2013 /3BL Media/ -, who host and manage the global online directory of corporate responsibility (CR) reports, launches the  CR Perspectives report, combining data, insight and opinion to reveal how global CR reporting has developed to date and where it might be headed.

Available as a free download from

The report CR Perspectives 2013 - Global CR Reporting Trends and Stakeholder Views looks at global CR reporting based on:

  • Statistics deriving from the world’s largest CR reporting database (52,000 reports)
  • Stakeholder views based on the inaugural CR Perspectives online survey, eliciting 300 participants' views on context, content, communication and credibility of CR reporting.

Paul Scott, Managing Director at said:
“Every year provides the data on global CR reporting – what’s happening, who is reporting, what the issues are regarding report content, frameworks and assurance. CR Perspectives combines our authoritative data with a comprehensive opinion survey, giving a unique insight into the current state of global CR reporting.”

The report is structured into four sections looking at the Context, Content, Communications and Credibility of CR reporting

The Context of CR reporting
The report looks at overall growth rates, globally and by region.

Survey findings give insights into how global CR reporting stakeholders view report quality and progress, and how they see the voluntary vs mandatory reporting debate.
Key findings:

  • Overall CR reporting quality has improved over the past ten years – reports are very different from a decade ago.
  • Respondents are in favour of mandatory reporting.  Expectations differ about this, according to the size and nature of the reporting organization.
  • Eventually, both companies (all sizes) and also other organisations will be expected to report on CR issues

The Content of CR reporting
The trend towards multi-issue (CR and sustainability) reports continues, with around four-fifths of almost 7,000 annual reports comprising these two report categories.‘Integrated’ reports are increasing, but are not yet as widespread as generally assumed. Our survey respondents consider that eventually all reports will be ‘integrated’.

More reports are using globally recognized reporting frameworks, and the rising issue of ‘materiality’ is at the top of the CR reporting agenda.

Key findings:

  • In an ideal world, all reports are expected to eventually be integrated, with separate CR and financial reporting falling away.
  • It’s best to follow a reporting framework, but some are much better than others!
  • Our respondents consider that every CR report should include a materiality index.

The Communication of CR reporting
In terms of how a CR reporter would prioritise its potential target audiences, the CR Perspectives survey results suggest that the further away the stakeholder from the direct operations of the organisation, the less their importance.

At the same time, the survey shows that a CR report should address all stakeholders.
Key findings:

  • Employees are the single most important report audience, and the general public comes bottom of a long list.
  • Large global companies need to report at different levels and consider using different channels.
  • The preferred reporting frequency is annual, while around ten percent of respondents would prefer continuous reporting.

The Credibility of CR reporting
This is the most extensive section of the CR Perspectives report, with statistics showing the take-up of different global assurance frameworks, analysis of the elements which enhance a CR report’s credibility, and views on what lends credibility to CR report external assurance.

Different external assurance frameworks and approaches are compared, and respondents gave their views on which types of assurance provider are to be preferred.
Key findings:

  • There’s a wealth of findings in this section. Did you know that including ‘bad news’ and data & targets in a CR report are almost essential if the report is to be credible?
  • The most credible report assurance statements declare their methodology – but if this methodology is desk research, this may detract from overall credibility.
  • Most respondents consider that a CR report should be assured in its entirety.

CR Perspectives Sponsors would like to thank this year’s sponsors who have made it possible to provide this report as a free resource:






Jennifer Iansen-Rogers, Head of Report Assurance at ERM Certification and Verification Services (ERM CVS) commented:

“We welcome the survey and have been pleased to support it. The survey highlights the importance of ‘non-financial information’ to investors and other audiences and indicates that when it comes to delivering credible sustainability information, robust external assurance is a key component. In fact, over half of the survey participants advocate external assurance on a significant proportion of report content. ”

Joe Franses, Director, Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability at Coca-Cola Enterprises, commented:
“It is encouraging to see many more companies recognise the importance of transparency and disclosure on non-financial issues. However, as corporate responsibility reports continue to evolve it is critical that they engage stakeholders in an interesting and relevant way. A strong backbone of rigorous disclosure remains essential but a new, more tailored reporting model, utilising digital media, means CR reporting can continue to be fit for purpose.”

Cora Olsen, ESG Data Manager, Global Stakeholder Engagement at Novo Nordisk AS said:
“Corporate Register’s report is comprehensive and authoritative - there are insights and information here to surprise even the most experienced reporters.”

Notes to editors

About CR Perspectives 2013
The report gives a unique picture of how global CR reporting has developed to date and where it might be headed, through the combination of global reporting statistics and stakeholder opinion.

The statistics in the report show trends and directions in growth, types and elements of reporting and are from’s database of 52,000 CR reports from over 10,500 companies across 170 countries.

The online survey was hosted on  for one month in 2013, during which time it was completed by over 300 respondents. This audience comprised corporate CSR professionals (40%)  CSR consultants (18%), and those from other/support Services (20%). A majority (71%) of respondents were from Europe and North America.

The participants were asked to score in a range of 100 points (from plus to minus 50) for each response. For more details of survey methodology and questionnaire please see Appendices B and C of the full report. 

Founded in 1998, is the free global CR resources website and hosts the world’s most comprehensive directory of corporate non-financial reporting, profiling 52,000 reports across 170 countries. Around 7,000 CR (Corporate Responsibility) reports are published annually and added to the current reports profiled.

Used by over 40,000 registered stakeholders worldwide, over one million CR reports are downloaded from the site every year.

We offer services to CR reporters and the organisations involved in developing CR reports. We create awareness of new CR reports, facilitate online stakeholder dialogue and connect service providers with CR reporters. We value our independence and impartiality. Our mission is to continue to provide high quality CR resources to an informed global audience.

Press enquiries to:
Paul Scott, Managing Director Ltd
19 Britton Street
London EC1M 5NZ
Tel: +44 (0)20 7253 8919