Baruch College’s Weissman Center for International Business created the CSR-Sustainability Monitor as a tool to examine corporate social responsibility reporting from the largest companies in the world and facilitate comparisons in the quality of their disclosures. Rather than looking at performance, the CSR-S Monitor measures the effectiveness and completeness of a company’s communication with its stakeholders through the medium on the CSR report or Integrated Annual report.
In addition, the effectiveness of a company’s CSR reporting depends, to a large extent, on the level of credibility that the company’s important stakeholders attach to it. That is why the CSR-Sustainability Monitor, in its scoring process, also measures the degree of external verification of information disclosed by the reporting company regarding its policies, implementation, and outcomes.
CSR reporting has become an important part of corporate communication efforts regarding the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) aspects of a company’s performance. These extra-financial aspects have significant implications for a company’s internal and external stakeholders, including institutional investors, public pension funds, civil society organizations, regulators, and news media. During the last two decades, there has been growing global, public concern about corporate accountability and the impact of corporate strategies and operations on the physical, economic, and sociopolitical environments. Financial analysts often view adverse public opinion on corporate social performance as a measure of long-term reputational risk to a company’s market value. Thus, CSR reports have become a competitive tool in promoting a company’s practices and values when compared with those of its peers and competitors.
A team of researchers at the Weissman Center for International Business, under the direction of University Distinguished Professor S. Prakash Sethi, developed the CSR-Sustainability Monitor, which is an analytic framework for the systematic evaluation of CSR reports, in response to the growing significance of companies’ ESG disclosures. In their research, the team reviews, analyzes, and scores each report based on the 11 most relevant Contextual Elements in CSR and sustainability.
Through this analysis, the CSR-Sustainability Monitor:
- offers a range of objective measures for comparing reports in terms of their scope of coverage, depth of information specificity, and degree of external verification;
- provides internal corporate accountability officers with an external and independent evaluation tool, and provides guidance for companies initiating their own CSR reporting;
- enables companies to compare their reports across their industry, country, and region;
- creates a market-driven incentive for companies to improve their CSR reporting to gain competitive advantage, as an alternative to greater regulation in this area.
The CSR-S Monitor allows for the review of results from a ”macro” perspective—analyses by industry, by region, or by country—but can also provide customized, detailed reports on individual. These analyses include further breakdown of a CSR report within each factor in the CSR-S Monitor, allowing for more incisive comparative analysis and benchmarking between a company’s own CSR report and the CSR reports of competitors and other firms.
The 2016 CSR-S Monitor Report describes in detail the CSR-S Monitor, and includes examples of its analytic results drawn from the 629 companies from around the world that are included in its sample. The examples include findings based on analysis of differences across industries and regions, as well as a look at some top-scoring companies.
For media questions:
Suzanne Bronski, Director of Public Relations, Baruch College/CUNY: firstname.lastname@example.org
For other questions:
CSR-S Monitor Communications Team: 646-312-2103 or CSR-S.Monitor@baruch.cuny.edu