CSR Report: Key Factors And Presentation

Businesses small and large, private and public, are observing significant progress executing corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies & initiatives into their structures; however, their endeavours do not end at that point.

The more successful companies generate a CSR report illustrating their drives. These reports can be unique and flexible, just like the institutions they represent and should express the vision, corporate values, and culture.

Why A Company Should Produce A CSR Report?

  • To benchmark an organization's operations and result, in society and the environment, in line to know where and how they can advance.
  • To convince stakeholders that a company is financing environmental and community stewardship. 

Key Elements

CEO's Letter

The first section of the report is often a letter from the CEO. These letters are important because they give readers a strong sense of the degree of the company's commitment to CSR programs.

Letters that address specific CSR challenges, accomplishments from the previous year and goals for the next, the resources used to make a certain CSR program work - these topics can give readers a better idea of the company's initiatives.

Focus More On The Future And Less On Past Success

The point of a CSR report is to explain and exhibit how business was handled in the past so a company can frame a plan to do better in the future.  While sharing the progress of CSR strategy is good, dwelling on the past CSR achievements can lessen the focus on future goals. A report without definite goals for the next year is a boat with no compass.  Being clear about the future helps the stakeholders and the company measure the success of that plan.

Transparency & Acceptance goes a long way

How can an automobile company talk about social responsibility? Within reason, they should talk about everything, not just the information the company feels comfortable sharing. Many are aware that corporate social responsibility is the ride, not the destination, and thus, being truthful with your readers can go a long way.

This can be accomplished with a simple statement like:

“We are giving a valuable service that helps people with XYZ and while we acknowledge that the consumption and the creation of our service do have consequences on the environment, we are looking at techniques to reduce our negative impact.”

Avoiding a foreseeable negative press

Centre the report on responsible workplace conditions and sustainable practices as opposed to generosity.  How a company makes a profit than what it does with its profit, is what CSR is all about.  If a company talks about its CSR efforts on the contributions it made and overlooks its toxic child labour practices and chemical pollution, the media will have a blast.

Authenticity is paramount

Try to incorporate support and testimonials by third-parties: shareholders, consumers, charitable organizations - what others say about carries greater importance than what you speak about yourself.

Data credibility & facts

The public and the stakeholders want to see transparency in the company's efforts and mission, so be honest. That transparency can intensify credibility and reputation, thus changing critics into supporters and supporters into advocates. Back claims with statistics and legitimate sources of data. Manage risks, build trust, explain operational methods and promote stakeholder involvement.

Presenting A CSR report

The intended audience of these reports include employees, customers, media, suppliers, NGO's and government representatives. To maximize the effectiveness of this, the information strategy should be planned early in the report development process. Include case studies. This will humanise the report and connect with the readers.

Approaches That Can Deliver Benefits While Presenting A CSR Report:

Aligning CSR reports with the company's broader stakeholder engagement like investor relation meetings and distribution of annual reports.

Providing data to decide what mode of engagement is best suited to reaching a target audience, i.e mail outs, annual general meetings, press releases, websites, mailing and advertising.


Having read this, you should have no trouble whipping up your next CSR report and subsequent presentation. At Vardaan, we guide companies draft impactful CSR reports, sustainability reports  that caters to the above best practices among other strategies.


Image References: