ROI and Sustainability Reporting

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ROI and Sustainability Reporting

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Will producing a sustainability or corporate social responsibility (CSR) report increase stock price or drive revenues?


Does communicating your organization’s sustainability and corporate responsibility practices impact the bottom line? Addison looks into the correlation between sustainability reporting and return on investment. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 9:00am


At Addison, we work with many companies that are just beginning to address sustainability as a core business issue. The question that often comes up is, “Will producing a sustainability or corporate social responsibility (CSR) report increase our stock price or drive revenues?” 

The answer: Not necessarily. The notion that addressing environmental and social challenges will give a boost to sales or stock prices may be putting the cart a bit before the horse.
Many companies that are focusing on sustainability and CSR challenges for the first time are looking for the silver bullet that will answer all their problems. They mistakenly believe that putting solar panels on the roof of their headquarters, donating an extra million dollars to charity, producing a sustainability report, and/or offering reusable bags to shoppers will automatically lead to the public perceiving them as a responsible company, with accompanying increases in sales and stock value as a result.
This is simply not the case. Companies must take the initiative in addressing sustainability issues directly within their operations, supply chain, and product offerings, in order to generate the credible data that make up the heart of a CSR report. A CSR program and corresponding report without these metrics usually isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.
That said, a 2008 study by IBM found that 68% of business leaders are focusing on CSR activities to create new revenue streams, and the same study showed that 54% believe their company’s CSR activities are already giving them an advantage over top competitors. Companies that are pursuing sustainability initiatives, capturing material performance indicators and communicating these publicly in the form of a report, realize the benefits in terms of reputational protection, recruiting and retention, and a higher number of business-to-business contracts rather than the direct boost to the metrics those in the C-suite love to see. While these efforts may not translate directly to sales, they certainly have financial implications.
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Addison is an independent brand strategy and communications design firm with a practice focusing on sustainability communications. Online and in print, we combine business understanding with creative solutions to visualize and implement strategic communications that yield measurable results.
Our full-service sustainability communications practice helps clients develop compelling print reports, websites, videos and other collateral. Addison’s dedicated sustainability strategists and creative designers develop reports through standardized reporting frameworks, such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines. We provide stakeholder engagement, materiality analysis and benchmarking services. We also advise on strategy and design best practices for reaching key stakeholders through the most effective channels. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies across multiple business sectors as well as non-profit organizations.



Tim Woodall
Keywords: Responsible Business & Employee Engagement | Addison | Business | CSR | Corporate Social Responsibility | ROI | Report | Return on Investment | Sustainability | sustainability reporting