How to… make CSR reports credible

Source:, 19 March 2009

In the second part of’s series on CSR reporting, we investigate the steps firms should be taking to ensure their reports avoid the dreaded "greenwash" label.
The increase in the number of companies producing CSR reports may be widely regarded as a positive trend, but many green groups remain sceptical about the true motivation behind many non-financial reports.

On the one hand, the initiatives of reporting organisations may reflect a genuine attempt to achieve sustainable development through systemic change of management practices. But on the other, a commitment to sustainability reporting may be part of a well-planned PR strategy designed to manage stakeholder groups and gain community legitimacy – or to give it its more colloquial label it could be a case of "greenwash".

So how do you convince stakeholders that your company is going beyond greenwash and the claims included in your published CSR reports are an accurate representation of your efforts?

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