Two recent reports –Edelman’s “trustbarometer” and Forbes/Audit Integrity’s list of the top 100 “Most Trustworthy Companies” bring to the forefront what is at the core of corporate responsibility and sustainability–trust. As defined by Merriam-Webster, “trust is the assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something, one in which confidence is placed.”
The Edelman Report concludes that the road companies must take to rebuild trust lies in public engagement. The Forbes/Audit Integrity list points to transparent and conservative accounting practices, stable management and minimal inside training as the primary measures which they believe make a company “trustworthy.” Clearly, both are necessary for companies to survive, let alone thrive going forward.
The framework to engage stakeholders, increase transparency and gain the public’s trust exists within the Global Reporting Initiative. The Global Reporting Initiative provides guidance for companies to disclose their social, environmental and economic performance and can be adapted for any industry, geography or size of organization. The framework facilitates transparency and accountability by organizations while providing a globally-applicable, comparable framework.
Companies across the globe have a great opportunity to achieve higher levels of trust by committing to a consistent and transparent process for engaging stakeholders and disclosing relevant and understandable information. Adopting the Global Reporting Initiative framework would be a giant first step for companies to get there.
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Statement from the most senior decision-maker of the organization about relevance of sustainability to the organization and the organization’s strategy for addressing sustainability
Name of the organization
Primary brands, products, and services
Location of organization’s headquarters
Number of countries where the organization operates, and names of countries with significant operations or that are specifically relevant to the sustainability topics covered in the report
Nature of ownership and legal form
Scale of the reporting organization
Total workforce by employment type, employment contract, and region, broken down by gender
Percentage of total employees covered by collective bargaining agreements
Description of the organization’s supply chain
Significant changes during the reporting period regarding organization's size, structure, ownership, or supply chain
Whether and how the precautionary approach or principle is addressed by the organization
Externally developed economic, environmental, and social charters, principles, or other initiatives to which the organization subscribes or endorses
Memberships in associations and/or national/international advocacy organizations
Entities included in the organization consolidated financial and nonfinancial reports
Process for defining report content
Material aspects identified in the process for defining report content
For each material aspect, the aspect boundary within the organization
For each material aspect, the aspect boundary outside the organization
Explanation of the effect of and reasons for any restatements of information provided in earlier reports
Significant changes from previous reporting periods in the scope and aspect boundaries
List of stakeholder groups engaged by the organization
The basis for identification and selection of stakeholders with whom to engage
The organization’s approach to stakeholder engagement, including frequency of engagement by type and by stakeholder group, and an indication of whether any of the engagement was undertaken specifically as part of the report preparation process
Key topics and concerns that have been raised through stakeholder engagement, and how the organization has responded to those key topics and concerns, including through its reporting. Report the stakeholder groups that raised each of the key topics and concerns
Date of most recent previous report
Contact point for questions regarding the report or its contents
‘In accordance’ option and GRI Content Index
Policy and current practice with regard to seeking external assurance for the report
Governance structure of organization, including committees of the highest governance body
The organization’s values, principles, standards, and norms of behavior such as codes of conduct and codes of ethics
Disclosure on Management Approach for Aspect
Coverage of the organization’s defined benefit plan obligations.
Financial assistance received from government.
Significant indirect economic impacts, including the extent of impacts.
Total number and rates of new employee hires and employee turnover by age group, gender and region.
Average hours of training per year per employee, by gender and by employee category.
Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews, by gender and by employee category.