Sir Peter Davis, the chairman of Business in the Community, launched of a new source of company information for City analysts, investors, consumers and other stakeholders.
The Impact on Society Reporting Website is a new online research tool for those interested in how businesses impact the communities in which they operate. For the first time, people are able to see a consistent framework for measuring, reporting and communicating business impacts.
Sir Peter launched the website at Business in the Communitys AGM, where he spoke alongside Director General of the CBI, Digby Jones and the Minister responsible for Corporate Social Responsibility, Douglas Alexander MP, to an audience of over 200 chairpersons, CEOs and senior business people.
The Minister responsible for Corporate Social Responsibility, Douglas Alexander MP, supported the initiative: "The Government believes that business has much to gain from communicating and benchmarking their social and environmental performance. This initiative marks an important first step for businesses to begin to measure how they contribute to local communities and social initiatives. It will allow them to improve their competitiveness and strengthen their reputation. It will provide a clear source of comparison of a company’s
corporate social responsibility performance.
I welcome this move which will help to raise the awareness of the value that corporate social responsibility can deliver both to business and society alike."
The information available at www.bitc.org.uk/iosreporting represents a new way for businesses to report on their social and environmental performance. It is the first time a common set of indicators against which companies can be measured has been provided, offering insight into areas such as the environment, the workplace, the community in which the company operates, the marketplace and human rights. The information ranges from relatively easy-to-measure numeric data, such as water usage, through to more complex, often perception-based information, for example from employee surveys. The information is then summarised into clear company profiles and can be compared and contrasted according to a range of parameters, such as specific indicators or industry sectors.
The criteria against which companies measure and report the overall impact they have on society have been formulated following a report launched at the CBI conference in November 2000. As a result of the report, twenty companies formed the Business Impact Review Group, showing their commitment to begin the journey of measuring performance against these indicators over two years and agreeing to report the results through the website.
Ten of these twenty companies have data in place so far (although not all of the companies are reporting against all of the criteria yet) with the others due to upload information shortly. As these companies gather the full raft of information and other new companies begin to get involved over the next six months, the site will grow into an invaluable resource for anyone interested in researching this area.
At the AGM, Sir Peter Davis said: I congratulate all of the companies taking part and hope that by this time next year we may have seen the number of companies reporting their impact on the website more than doubled. Its early days – but a major step forward by setting a new standard in transparency to meet the need from investors and consumers.