Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting and the Facility Manager

By Michael Arny, President Leonardo Academy

Facility managers can expect to be asked to provide information for corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting. More and more companies and organizations are beginning to issue annual corporate responsibility reports in addition to their annual financial reports in order to more fully report their annual performance. The CRS reports cover environmental, social and financial performance. According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report based on the review of more than 600 companies, 40 percent of US and Canadian companies and 81 percent of European companies issue CSR reports.

CSR reporting provides and organized way for companies to make public their performance information that covers all three legs of sustainability — environmental, social and financial performance.

Content of CSR Reports

A typical content outline for a CSR report includes:

  • Environmental Performance
    • Emissions
      • Greenhouse gas emissions
      • Emissions that affect health
    • Environmental impacts on land
    • Environmental impacts of water
    • Resource use
    • Waste
      • Waste management
      • Environmental impacts of waste
    • Supply chain
      • Purchasing
      • Resource use in the supply chain
      • Environmental impacts in the supply chain
  • Social Performance
    • Treatment of staff
    • Treatment of people working in the supply chain
    • Community engagement
    • Governance
  • Financial performance
    • Financial performance information from the annual report

Format of CSR Reports

To date, the primary format for CSR reports has been for this information to be included in one integrated report or in two separate reports, one covering social and environmental performance and the other as the traditional financial report. In the last few years many companies have recognized that reading theses full reports can be quite daunting. To make it easier for people to explore and find the particular information they are interested in, companies are starting to provide this information on their web sites in an interactive format. They are also starting to use social media to push their CSR information out to their audiences in smaller pieces that people can easily assimilate.

Reasons Companies and Organizations Issue CSR Reports

Companies and organizations issue CSR reports for a variety of reasons. One reason is that it is the right thing to do from a corporate citizenship point of view. Other reasons are market based. Many companies are asking their suppliers and potential suppliers to provide CSR information and to start improving their performance over time. In the future companies will begin to set required levels of CSR performance for suppliers. As a result, CSR reporting and performance will become an important financial performance issue for companies and organizations. Investors are also taking an interest in the CSR performance of companies. There are a number of investment funds that include social and environmental performance in the decision-making process for purchases of stocks.

The Role of Facility Mangers in CSR Reporting

Facility managers will be involved in CSR reporting in two very important ways. First, facility managers play an important role in delivering sustainable performance. This includes facility performance, staff management, purchasing and waste management. Second, facility managers will be involved in gathering the performance information related to facilities in both the environmental and social performance sections of the CRS reports.

The Role of Facility Managers

The bottom line is that facility managers should plan to be ready to support the preparation of CSR reports when their company or organization moves forward with them. There are two important components of being ready: 1) have the facilities actually delivering sustainable performance; and 2) have this sustainable performance tracked and documented so the data is readily available.

For more information visit the Leonardo Academy website at

Leonardo Academy is a nonprofit organization that develops sustainability solutions through consultation and certification services in the LEED Green Building Rating System and the Cleaner & Greener sustainable event program. Leonardo Academy also provides sustainability and continuing education training, including training for the LEED Green Associate credential for individuals who support green buildings in their profession, such as building owners and facility managers.

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