CSR reporting standards every CSR professional should know

Stéphanie Grawehr February 17, 2021

In this post:

Metrics you can track to show progress on a company’s Purpose Common CSR reporting standards Business For Social Impact (B4SI, formerly LBG) Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)

Companies today provide more value to their stakeholders and shareholders than just dividends and profit. Today, shareholders care about Purpose, but how do you measure it? It needs to be consistent and structured enough to support accountability. Everyone, from the board to your employees, should know how the company clearly defines its Purpose and how it’s going to deliver that promise to its stakeholders.

“One of the big challenges in sustainability is non-financial reporting. As one of the big four accounting firms, PwC recently worked with the WEF, the accounting profession and 120 leading companies in the International Business Council (IBC) to identify a global set of metrics based on existing standards. That’s for us one way to bring our purpose to life”.

Jasmin Khalifa, Head of Corporate Responsibility, PwC Switzerland

Metrics you can track to show progress on a company’s Purpose

Purpose-led metrics come from a clear definition of what your stakeholders value, and deciding what you’re going to do for them. If your Purpose is to help your employees become healthy and happy people, a metric could be how many of your employees sign up for your company fitness program.

“The performance measurement approach is how you frame the impact of your action with credible and contextualised figures and how you make the company accountable. This is what drives talent and people that work inside companies: This is our impact and our stakeholder governance. And we have a framework for that.”

Jonathan Normand, B Lab

Make sure that your metrics are achievable and measurable—your Purpose might be to combat climate change, but how can you measure that? It’s a little too immense and far reaching to have any valuable insights on your effect. Instead, metrics for this could be going carbon neutral, which is measurable and time-based.

Make sure you set a timeline of how frequently you’ll report on these metrics. Make it as consistent as accounting reports.

Common CSR reporting standards

Here are a few common purpose reporting standards you can follow in your CSR report


Business For Social Impact (B4SI, formerly LBG)

B4SI, or the Business For Social Impact, is the global standard for measuring corporate community investment and philanthropy. It’s a practical tool to evaluate purpose program effectiveness and make sure that what you’re doing means something. It helps more than 220 companies globally measure, report and benchmark community investments.

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

The Global Reporting Initiative’s mission is “to enable organizations to be transparent and take responsibility for their impacts, enabled through the world’s most widely used standards for sustainability reporting” and is one of the most widely used frameworks for reporting out there, which can also be linked to the UN SDGs.

Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board is a sustainability reporting specialist, that helps businesses identify and report on the values that matter most to their investors. The SASB sets standards to guide the disclosure of financially material sustainability related to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) information by companies to their investors.It differs by industry, and connects businesses and investors who care about Purpose.

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