Why and how to write a CSR report?

Why and how to write a CSR report?

We decipher for you what is behind this report, which is essential to the communication of your CSR strategy.

Thomas Guyot

Thomas Guyot


Update :

The CSR report is one of the main deliverables of a company's CSR strategy. It is made up of a multitude of information that makes it possible to evaluate the societal and environmental impact of a company as well as the actions it is implementing. This article explains what a CSR report is and how to produce it. Enjoy your reading!

What is a CSR report?

The CSR report, also known as the extra-financial report, is the document published by a company to present its results and actions with regard to CSR - Corporate Social Responsibility.

These actions are established in order to be aligned with the 3 pillars of sustainable development which are the social, environmental and economic axis. The company must aim for an activity that will have a beneficial impact on society while being economically viable.

This CSR report is a communication medium for all stakeholders around the company. This information must therefore be presented honestly and transparently.

Who should produce a CSR report?

Following the Grenelle II law of 2019, several companies are obliged to publish an annual CSR report. These are the companies :

  • Listed on the stock exchange
  • With a turnover of more than 100 million euros
  • With more than 500 employees

It is nevertheless highly recommended to publish a CSR report even if you are not legally obliged to do so. Indeed, it proves your social and environmental involvement, which represents an undeniable strategic advantage over your competitors in a world where global warming and environmental issues are at the heart of all discussions.

Your CSR report should present your key figures and strategies in a clear and relevant way. The more concrete your actions are and the more reliable the data, the more credible you will be to your stakeholders. Carbon footprints provide an excellent overview of a company's impact on the environment. This is the starting point for any CSR strategy and therefore for any CSR report. It is also important to regularly monitor carbon emissions in order to know whether the action plan established is following the desired trajectory and is therefore effective.

Why produce a CSR report?

As mentioned above, a CSR report is intended for the company's stakeholders, i.e. :

  • the customers
  • suppliers
  • the shareholders
  • the staff
  • the institutions
  • citizens ...

Its purpose is manifold and will depend on the interlocutor concerned.

For your customers

The CSR report will help build customer loyalty, as more and more people are aware of global issues and knowing that they are consuming products from a company that is in line with their own convictions is important. Moreover, transparency is the keystone of this deliverable. Even if you still have some work to do to reach your goals, it is necessary to clearly explain your strategic choices and priorities. Nobody is perfect, but honesty always pays off and will avoid being accused of greenwashing.

For your investors

The extra-financial report informs investors about the CSR strategy implemented in a company, which gives a high visibility on the company's commitments and culture. The CSR report is systematically consulted during the investment process, so it should be given special attention.

For your employees

Finding meaning in your work is an extremely important source of motivation for your employees. The CSR report shares the values and objectives of a company. If these values are in line with those of the employees, this strengthens their loyalty to the company and their motivation.

We have just seen that the CSR report is fundamental for a company for various reasons. But what data should be included and how should it be presented? This is what we are going to see right now.

What information should be included in a CSR report?

The drafting of a CSR report is based on the three pillars of the ISO 26000 standard: the social aspect, the economic and societal aspect and the environmental aspect.

The social aspect

In this section we can find all the information about the working and employment conditions. Statistics on the gender of the employees, their age, the number of hirings and dismissals, the salaries and their increases ...

The societal aspect

In this section you can indicate the impact of your activity on society. For example, data on the number of people employed living in the region/city, information on social partnerships or donations made, number of sustainable suppliers ...

The environmental aspect

In this category, we can find all the actions and means implemented by the company to reduce its impact on the environment. Actions related to waste management, sustainable resources, greenhouse gas emissions, etc. can be presented in this section.

To reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, there are tools, such as Traace, that allow you to calculate your carbon footprint, define a trajectory and then monitor your projects in order to reach your objectives.

But substance is not the only characteristic of a report, the form is also important. The report is intended to be read by your clients, so it must be attractive. Here are some tips for writing a non-financial report.

How to write a CSR report?

To make your extra-financial report attractive you can rely on :

  • an original layout: use infographics, images and explanatory videos to liven up your presentation.
  • A report constructed as a narrative with a beginning and an end to capture the reader's attention. Storytelling is an extremely powerful tool to make a text or, in our case, a report, interesting.
  • Your creativity! Yes, a creative and original report will make a difference to your clients.

You now have all the keys to produce a comprehensive and impactful CSR report that reflects your CSR strategy. 🌱

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