Can a Stewardship Report Change the World?

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Can a Stewardship Report Change the World?

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Can a Stewardship Report Change the World? via @REI
Monday, April 23, 2012 - 8:30pm

"Can a Stewardship Report Change the World?" 

By Kevin Hagen, REI director of corporate social responsibility

You can call me an eternal optimist if you would like, but I truly believe that a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report can change the world. I know because I have seen the evidence by way of the REI Stewardship Report and the many more corporate reports that are now available from large and small companies around the world.  

At REI, our reports over the past six years have helped our management team ensure that we are delivering on our core purpose to run a business that can “inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship.”

The words and the graphs on paper (or screen) are not what, I believe, can improve the globe. Instead, the catalyst for change is the transparent corporate commitment to a greater social purpose and the validation of performance. When business leaders are accountable for doing good while earning their keep, the treatment of people improves, the earth is healthier and companies generate more revenue. 

In addition to the corporate benefit, however, what I value the most about stewardship reports is that they are tools that can inspire customers and shareholders to join in the chain reaction of good.

At REI, we hear that people like to know concretely what we, and our employees, are doing in a community, so they can find like-minded volunteer opportunities. They also like to know how we are improving our efforts to eliminate waste, because those points matter to them in their daily lives. If they are cutting their waste, they want any business that they frequent to do the same.

There are many stories within REI that validate the good of a CSR report. Over the next few weeks, I will share a few stories that help illustrate the human side of our report related to the concrete metrics. In the meantime, I welcome you to share your thoughts.  Do you believe that a CSR report can change the world? What are some tangible examples that you can share?

Keywords: 2011 REI stewardship report | Responsible Business & Employee Engagement | Kevin Hagen | REI | REI director of corporate social responsibility | Recreational Equipment