Two Survey Charts For A Quick Update on Corporate Transparency
A short report came out at the end of August about Corporate Transparency and Sustainability Performance. As a result of a survey launched by Globescan and SustainAbility in June and conducted on about 500 Sustainability professionals, the report highlights the key values a company can benefit from by implementing more transparent practices, such as an improved stakeholders engagement or an enhanced reputation. But that’s not all. According to the study, corporate transparency positively impacts a company’s sustainability performance too, as confessed by almost 80% of respondents.
But “Transparency” is a broad notion that can cover diverse aspects, as seen in our article “Transparency in Communications: Utopia, Diktat or Opportunity?“. According to the survey, the most popular and effective forms of transparency guiding decision-making and driving sustainable change within companies are “valuing and reporting on externalities” and “sustainability reporting”, long before the “usage of social media” or “frequent online updates”.
The barriers to transparency, on the other hand, are surprisingly “poor data accuracy”, “lack of focus on material issues” and “comparability of data”. The “risk related to transparency” is evaluated to be a “great deal” for about 52% of respondents, but 23% of them don’t consider it as a great deal at all.
What does this all mean exactly? In my views, it means that companies are starting to understand the benefits of transparency when it comes to Sustainability communications, unfortunately some of them have not integrated yet the value of social media in that context. Social media represent an incredible opportunity to demonstrate transparency and build trust with stakeholders by giving them the chance to directly engage with the company’s information. Having one person out of 3 stating that social media “is not a great deal” in causing sustainable change is paradoxal in a world where more and more companies are using social media to communicate their green commitments and engage their stakeholders.
Indeed, social media can even be a part of a more complex sustainability reporting communication strategy: CSRwire and 3BLMedia, which have recently announced their reunion, regularly organize Twitter Chats for companies like Sodexo, SAP or Mars and enable them to engage their stakeholders about their Sustainability results online, directly through Twitter.
A more in-dept analysis of this short survey will be released in December by SustainAbility, and I’m very excited to read more on the subject. Until then, you can still download the short report here and share your views in the comments!