You will undertake a comparative study/assessments of the current or recent published (ASX200 Listed Companies) (https://www.asx200list.com/) Corporate Responsibility Reports of any two companies of your choice. However, the two (2) companies must be from the same industry. In examining these reports, consider the role of corporate reporting on sustainability through, for example, the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines and other Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) standards as well as the performance of Corporate Governance
Briefly, consider the national and the sectoral/industry context in which these two firms operate. This should give you some ideas of the institutional and structural pressures on these companies to pursue corporate social responsibility and sustainability accounting. You will need to compare the two reports in terms of the quality and quantity of information provided. Support your analysis and discussion with Literature Review and various accounting theories that explain Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting.
Example questions to be asked:
1.Are these reports mere Public Relation exercises?
2.Do these reports measure corporate responsibility performance against some benchmark?
3.To what extent, they (reports) present information that is critical to the two companies?
4.To what extent they (reports) lay out tangible objectives and plans for the future?
5.To what extent, can these two corporations be trusted to serve the common good?
6.Do these reports have an impact of various stakeholders or only on shareholders?
A corporate sustainable report refers to a report that includes all environmental, social and economic impacts that is caused by an organization in its everyday activities. It is a report that mainly focuses on the environmental, social and governance issues. These issues influence the stakeholders including investors, customers and host governments. The idea of CSR has made a widespread impact throughout the business world. It is a business approach that contributes in sustainable development that enables in economic, social and environmental benefits that accrues to all stakeholders(Schwartz 2017, p.1). It is a broad concept that addresses may issues like human rights, corporate governance , health and safety among others. The purpose of CSR is to develop sustainability. With widespread changes in global business practices and changing trades in social responsibility it has become widely prevalent in society(Carroll 2015, p.90). It has become an integral part of tradition and a determinant of culture . Here the CSR practices of commonwealth bank and ANZ banking group have been compared with a view to assess their effectiveness.
The ANZ bank is one of the major banks in Australia . It offers a variety of banking and financial products and services to over eight million customers operating in more than 30 markets. The corporate sustainability report of the ANZ bank highlights the many ways in which the bank has contributed to the communities in which they have operated. This report illustrates how they do business which includes their purpose, values and corporate sustainability framework. This company has been using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework for the process of sustainable reporting for more than 10 years. The framework for corporate sustainability framework has three main focus impacts :
Fair and Responsible Banking- the company wants to earn the trust of the public. It knows that the besr way to do that is fulfilling the various prospects of the stakeholders. This can happen by preserving a high standard of conduct and contemplating the environmental and social impacts of the decisions of the business.
Social and Environmental Participation-This focuses on fostering sustainable customer participation and connecting with the communities., thereby fostering a support for varied and comprehensive society in which everybody will feel welcome(Sabharwal 2014,p.200)
Sustainable growth-Generating opportunities for all customers and enablling the sustaining growth for all types of businesses.
On 1st January, 2016 the sustainable goals of the United Nations(SDGs) first came into place .These goals and targets were aimed to solve the world’s most persistent challenges for sustainable development which includes eradicating global poverty, shielding the community and making sure that our human rights are protected. The company became patners with a Singapore based investment exchange ( IIX) . It also advanced a new Women’s Livelihood Bond (WLB), the first sustainability bond of the world that was listed on a stock exchange. The bond incomes enable the bank to provide loans to microfinance institutions across all over South east Asia ( Anz.com 2018). These activities in turn help women in some of the world’s most susceptible regions. The WLB enables these borrowers to expand their business with the help of these loans and contributes more than 350,000 women in countries like Cambodia , Vietnam and Philippines. This is basically done through better access to capital, credit and affordable goods and services. The company has lately started initiating a work programme with a quantity of large Australian businesses. This is done in a bid to promote more SDG’s among other listed companies. They are also combining forces with the various stakeholders including government and NGOs( Anz.com 2018,).
The company has engaged with both shareholders and stakeholder like industry associations, non-government agencies, employees in order to address their requirements. It is very important to have an effective arrangement with all their stakeholders if they are to comprehend and reply to their prospects. It makes a significant investment in an all inclusiveand diversified workforce . This will help the community by generating opportunities for employment for under represented groups ( Anz.com 2018,). It is committed to achieving a diversified workforce that reflects the inclusion of all communities in which the business operate. The company targets a representation increase of women managers by 3 percent from 2015 to 2018.
Some of their 2018 sustainable targets include:
Figure 1-A snapshot of the sustainability of ANZ bank
Source-( Anz.com 2018,).
The commonwealth bank provides financial services for people, businesses and communities all over Australia. It is presently one of the leading financial institutions . This bank provides institutional banking and wealth management services to 11 countries around the world.
They are focused on the following material issues that address the following
The company also understands the necessity of maintaining an open dialogue and transparent stakeholder engagement policies in order to maintain effective relationship with that of the stakeholders (Grawitch, Ballard and Erb 2017,p.249). The sustainability report of the organization provides a complete view of financial and non financial performance(Epstein 2018, p.101). It is a participant to the United Nations global Comapct. It is dedicated to interactive progress on combining these principles . These principles cover human rights, labour and anti corruption (Commbank.com.au 2018, p.1). In the future, the company plans to review their strategy and programs of work in light of the SDG’s. According To the CSR policy of the Commonwealth Bank, the bank has its sights on the following SDG’s
Teaching children the value of money- this is aimed at promoting the financial well being and money management skills of the Australian children (Howell 2016, p.77 ). It launched a free financial education program called Start Smart which provides appealing workshops. These workshops are run by expert facilitators that promote education. It is the largest literacy program in the world . In this programme more than 2.5 million Australian children since the program was inaugurated in 2007. In the last one year, the program has enrolled more than 500,000 students (Commbank.com.au 2018).
Help prepare the workforce of the future- they are committed to improving the education system of the country by investing in more than $ 16 million in education alone in 2017. They have a fund set up as The learning impact fund . It is a fund that provides grants to developers of education in partnership with Australian research institutions .The fund has invested in $163 million in trials that are running in 215 schools with more than 11000 students. It also dispersed $571000 across three research trials (Commbank.com.au 2018, p.40).
Enabling diversity and inclusion- The company needs to create an inclusive workplace that views the communities in where they operate. In 2015, the diversity and inclusion control recognized a three year diversity and inclusion strategy . The primary goal of the company is building an inclusive culture (Rauschmayer, Bauler and Schäpke 2015,p. 220).The company has also set a new gender diversity leadership target . The target is 40 percent women in executive manager and above positions by 2020 . last year, he company had achieved their gender diversity target.
Contributing to communities-, The company has contributed to their communities through community investment, disaster relief and as a taxpayer. The people employed in the bank are vigorously involved in the community and donate by volunteering and fundraising. The company has encouraged a culture of volunteering in order to provide much needed benefits to the company. The volunteering program enables the community to have access to volunteers with skills and know-how that is vital to their sustainability. The staff fund raising has made an investment of more than $ 1 million. This investment has been made to back cancer research in the last financial year through the annual CAN4CANCER ride and walk in partnership with tour de cure (Commbank.com.au 2018,).
Figure 2-A snapshot of the sustainability practices of Commonwealth bank
Source-(Commbank.com.au 2018, ).
By reviewing the sustainable reports of both the companies, it is pretty evident that these companies have made significant commitments in order to improve the wellbeing of the communities they operate in. They have undertaken a variety of measures that promote education, community development and a sustainable approach towards fair and responsible business practices(Farley et al., 2015,p. 74).
These reports are not merely an exercise in public relation exercises. These reports are prepared with a view to encourage stakeholder engagement and promoting fair and responsible fair business practices(Waas, et al., 2014, p.5530) While the sustainability report of the ANZ bank has its performance standards set against the UNGC standards as the benchmark , the company Commonwealth bank has no such benchmark.
In reference to the plans set in the future, both companies have a great track record in fulfilling their targets. The sustainability reports of both companies lay out targets that the companies will have to try and achieve. Both companies will strive to try and achieve their targets fully(Ioannou and Serafeim 2017, p.243).
These reports are prepared with a view to engage with stakeholder and not only shareholders . it is aimed to provide a comprehensive overview of its socially responsible activities(Zhong, Wang and Yang 2017, p.423).Both the companies are trusted organization and a very high degree of trust and reputation among the general public.These two companies can be trusted fully to serve the needs of the public .
The study evaluated the sustainability reports of the ANZ bank and commonwealth bank. It analyzed the various sustainability practices of both the companies . It made a list of their targets and the various activities the companies took in reference to community development, promote gender diversity in the workforce etc. It also necessitated some programs that both the companies took in order to promote sustainability. A comparison has been done to assess the validity of the information provided in the corporate sustainable report .It also illustrated the concept of corporate social responsibility and its value to organisations.
Anz.com (2018). Sustainability reporting | ANZ. [online] Anz.com. Available at: https://www.anz.com/about-us/corporate-sustainability/reporting-performance/sustainability-reporting [Accessed 2 Sep. 2018].
Carroll, A.B., 2015. Corporate social responsibility. Organizational dynamics, 44(2), pp.87-96.
Commbank.com.au (2018). [online] Commbank.com.au. Available at: https://www.commbank.com.au/content/dam/commbank/about-us/shareholders/pdfs/corporate-responsibility/2017/2017-corporate-responsibility-report.pdf [Accessed 2 Sep. 2018].
Epstein, M.J., 2018. Making sustainability work: Best practices in managing and measuring corporate social, environmental and economic impacts. Routledge.
Farley, J., Costanza, R., Flomenhoft, G. and Kirk, D., 2015. The Vermont Common Assets Trust: An institution for sustainable, just and efficient resource allocation. Ecological Economics, 109, pp.71-79.
Grawitch, M.J., Ballard, D.W. and Erb, K.R., 2017. Work and wellbeing. The Routledge Companion to Wellbeing at Work, p.249.
Howell, N.J., 2016. Small amount credit contracts and payday loans: The complementarity of price regulation and responsible lending regulation. Alternative Law Journal, 41(3), pp.174-178.
Ioannou, I. and Serafeim, G., 2017. The consequences of mandatory corporate sustainability reporting.
Markley, D.M., Lyons, T.S. and Macke, D.W., 2015. Creating entrepreneurial communities: building community capacity for ecosystem development. Community development, 46(5), pp.580-598.
Rauschmayer, F., Bauler, T. and Schäpke, N., 2015. Towards a thick understanding of sustainability transitions—Linking transition management, capabilities and social practices. Ecological economics, 109, pp.211-221.
Sabharwal, M., 2014. Is diversity management sufficient? Organizational inclusion to further performance. Public Personnel Management, 43(2), pp.197-217.
Schwartz, M.S., 2017. Corporate social responsibility. Routledge.
Waas, T., Hugé, J., Block, T., Wright, T., Benitez-Capistros, F. and Verbruggen, A., 2014. Sustainability assessment and indicators: Tools in a decision-making strategy for sustainable development. Sustainability, 6(9), pp.5512-5534.
Zhong, N., Wang, S. and Yang, R., 2017. Does corporate governance enhance common interests of shareholders and primary stakeholders?. Journal of business ethics, 141(2), pp.411-431.
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