It’s not news that there are false claims in sustainability reports. Nevertheless, a recent post caught my eye. A post on SustainableBusinessForum.com by Elaine Curtis noted that the lying can be huge.
- Labor Indicators: 86% of companies claim they report and only 11% actually do.
- Human Rights Indicators: 62% of companies claim they report and only 20% actually do.
Then Elaine asks Why tell lies in reports? and suggests
The reports are prepared in an unprofessional and sloppy way, without due attention to the detailed GRI protocols.
Company reporters, or their outsourced consultants, never read the protocols and simply don’t know what’s expected of them in reporting against each indicator.
Companies are competing for the GRI A Level “accolade” and don’t mind if they cut a few corners along the way.
Companies are being deliberately deceitful in order to achieve a reputation boost, without due consideration of the consequences of being found to be making false claims.
Companies don’t think anyone will notice – no-one reads reports.
Companies don’t care if anyone notices – the main thing is that they published a report.
Companies don’t think it matters – what’s a little inaccurate detail here or there? Hey. We are reporting. Isn’t that good enough?
All common sense.
You could fairly infer that the same companies cut corners on their environmental performance and, especially where it really counts, financial reporting.
Sustainable Business Forum: False Claims in Sustainability Reports