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Corporate Social Responsibility

In: Business and Management

Submitted By laihwong9
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EDINBURGH NAPIER UNIVERSITY
BA (ACCOUNTING) FULL-TIME PROGRAMME
2013-14

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

COURSEWORK
ASSIGNMENT

WONG LAI HUNG
40136508

CONTENT

Introduction ................................................................................................. P. 3

Evaluation - Reporting Quality
Balance ........................................................................................................ P. 4
Comparability ............................................................................................ P. 5
Accuracy ..................................................................................................... P. 6
Timeliness ................................................................................................... P. 6
Reliability .................................................................................................... P. 7
Clarity ......................................................................................................... P. 8

Conclusion .................................................................................................... P. 9

Bibliography .............................................................................................. P. 10

Introduction
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is provides the globally applicable guidelines to business organization that voluntary use to design and ensure the quality of their sustainability reports. GRI framework is helping the organization to measure and report the sustainability report’s three aspects that includes economics, environmental and social performance. This framework can be used in any size, industry or location. (G3 guideline, p2)

Bel Group is a global brand which supplies different type of cheese and provide food service. Headquarters of Bel Group is in France. It provides their product to nearly 400 million consumers annually in 120 countries around the world. There have 30 brand and five of which are universal core brands, including The Laughing Cow®, Kiri®, Leerdammer®, Boursin® and Mini Babybel®. The Bel Group begins to develop the corporate social responsibility process since 2010 and publics the sustainability report since 2012.

Therefore, in order to evaluate the sustainability report of Bel Group that whether fulfill the element of GRI framework that as the good reporting level. The report will be determined by evaluate the content of report and quality of report.

Evaluation
Reporting Quality
Balance, comparability, accuracy, timeliness, reliability and clarity are the principles that used to evaluate the report quality according to GRI.

- Balance
Balance is achieved when the report reflects “positive and negative aspects of the organization ‘s performance to enable a reasoned assessment of overall performance” (GRI, 2011,p.13). It goes into the direction of neutrality which is a component of faithful representation.

Bel Group’s sustainability report has mentioned both positive and negative result that related to the performance. As such, the report point out the ratio of the pollution is decreased but the ratio of total waste production is increase because of the exceptional events. (CSR report 2013, p.64) It is clear to distinguish the positive and negative side that is easy to understand by the reader. Bel Group mentioned the reason of the unfavorable results such as the packaging consumption is increased because of cheese production raise. (CSR report 2013, p.85)

Moreover, the report has mentioned the risk or difficultly when they compute the data or process the activity. For example, market is incredibly difficult to provide the least processed foodstuffs are those seen by the average consumer. However, negative side of the report is fewer mentioned in topic, there may not obviously show the good balance in the report. The reader may feel unfair representation but this balance is within the acceptable level.

Bel Group has prioritized according to the degree of concern of the stakeholders in each topic. For the subtopics of each topic, the length of the context is based on its materiality for the stakeholder. As such, the report is more content is occupied in subtopic “Ensuring the quality, safety and traceability of our products” that more than other subtopics. It is because the quality of the product which is most concern by the stakeholder. Thus, Bel Group can strike a balance when report all material issues in the reporting period 2013.
- Comparability
Comparability requires consistent selection, compilation and reporting of information and issues. Furthermore, these should be presented “ in a manner that enables stakeholders to analyze changes in the organization’s performance over time, and could support analysis relative to other organizations” (GRI, 2011, p.14).

In the report, Bel Group is produce the sustainability report since 2012 and thus the reader can only compare the report with the last year. Also, the report still provides much tables and chart to show the Bel Group’s performance data about 2011 and even 2008 or 2009. And some of items is also compared in actual numerical but almost data is compared in percentage. Almost the data of CSR improvement can be compared in Bel Group CSR report 2012, the reader thus more understood about the improvement on a year basis.

However, Bel Group only display the various about the company itself, it have not stated about the comparison with other competitor or even whole industry. There is laced the appropriate benchmarks that used to compare the company performance. Thus, the report cannot actual showing how good the company improvement performance in the cheese industry norm.

Moreover, the report utilizes generally accepted protocols for compiling, measuring and presenting information that contain from the GRI guidelines on sustainable development reporting. As such, Bel Group clearly stated the information that match with GRI guideline in “ Cross reference tables”. (CSR Report 2013, pp.136-138) Therefore, this report is comparable.

- Accuracy
It demands information to be “ sufficiently accurate and detailed for stakeholders to assess the reporting organization’s performance” (GRI, 2011, p.15).

For the each sub-section, the report is mentioned the reference guides and performance indicators, the reader can clearly understand the indicator when they read the company performance. And they can use this indicator to compare with other company. If there has some difficultly or risk in measurement, the report is also mentioned before showing the result. For example, the report is stated that absence of commonly-agreed tools and indicators make biodiversity difficult to measure their impacts and improvement accurately. (CSR report 2013, p.61) The report is marked if the data is estimated. As such, the figure of breakdown of packing material used. (CSR report 2013, p.81)

Most CSR information and data in the report are measured, collected and evaluated by Bel Group’s internal control system, it also has audited by external independent auditor. As a result, all information used in the report is accurate.

- Timeliness
It means for GRI regular reporting and information that is “ available in time for stakeholders to make informed decisions” (GRI, 2011, p.16)

All data are reported and content are mentioned within the reporting period from 1 January 1 to December 31, 2013. (CSR report 2013, p.139) Also, if the history data is available, the data is given for the late three financial years. The time of each project or program carried out will be stated in the report such as instigated a program called “ Sharing Citied” in 2013 (CSR report 2013, p.88).

Moreover, if there has any adjustment of the previous year’s data, the report will be clearly stated. For example, Bel group explains the adjustment the scope of the reports by including Iran which was excluded in 2012. And these change cause that it cannot make a comparison with the 2012 reposting. (CSR report 2013, p.108) However, it should mention the reason of the adjustment. For the whole report, the information used is timely in the CSR report.
- Reliability
It purports that “ information and processes used in the preparation of a report should be gathered, recorded, compiled, analyzed, and materiality of the information” (GRI, 2011, p.17)

Bel Group has stated all material project which has related to the report. It also clearly mentioned the partners of each project such as WWF France. Bel Group descripted how they achieve their sustainability goals from improve their whole supply chain. For example, Bel Group attempts to improve the negative impact of the global in economically, environmentally and socially responsible aspect. It improves the impact in upstream activities such as search new renewable energy, make stable in the supply milk and implement EASABEL and ESABEL program, etc. In downstream activities, Bel Group tries to optimal the transport distance to save the fuel use.

Throughout the whole report, material researches and development done make stable in the supply milk. As such, Bel Group support by WWF France, they mapped out the different feeding practices concerning the cows that supply their milk in their two main supply regions. (CSR report 2013, p.62) Bel Group takes any material operation decisions in 2013 that have been reported. For example, in order to eliminate the use of palm oil in their products, they invested an R&D project in 2013. (CSR report 2013, p.62)

However, the report mentioned that the auditor express limited assurance on the fact that taken as a whole. And some of the information which part of subsidiaries was reporting number of days lost due to work accidents in calendar days. (CSR report 2013, p.143) Auditors have not been able to evaluate the impact on the value published by the Group. But it is not treated as material error that affects the quality of the report. The CSR report is still subject to qualification report. Therefore, the report is completely reported all material issues of Bel Group in the reporting period 2013.

- Clarity
Clarity is achieved when published information is “ understandable and accessible to stakeholders using the report” (GRI, 2011, p.16)

The report has two languages version which is French and English version. In English version, simple English is used that can easily to understand by the reader. Also, Bel Group’s CSR report creates a great structure that leads readers through the company’s sustainability story. The content is divided into five easy-to-understand sections which is Partnerships and society, Environmental footprint, Nutrition and responsible products, Responsible communication and consumption and Committed employer. The reader can clearly distinguish based on the color. Also, the report shows lots of diagrams and chart to explain the process of the activities and the change of the improvement.

If any special programs or events are mentioned in the report, the explanation will be provided in “Focus”. It also used “ 2013 process and outlook” to provide the chart or figure and further elaborate in each improvement. This enables readers to easily find the information that interest them. In the Web page, the structure is always visible in the navigation that provides readers the signpost by click the links in the content pages. It allows them to feel comfortable exploring the report with the confidence of knowing where they are. Therefore, readers are easily and clearly understand the report.

Bel Group sustainability report does an excellent job of detailing the company’s stakeholder engagement. The report features a dedicated in outline by each type of stakeholder that explains the method and frequencies of the company’s communication with employee, customer suppliers, shareholder, professional bodies and public, etc. (CSR report 2013, pp.24-25). The report also includes narrative, a detail graphic and well-organized chart that detail and effectively explains the method of engagement with each stakeholder group. Therefore, the report is understandable for the reader.
Conclusion
Bel Group’s sustainability report is comprehensive and contained all material, completed relevant information based on stakeholders’ concern. The sustainability development concept is clearly defined in the report that concept is also embedded within each decision which made by Bel Group.

Beside favorable outcomes, unfavorable results are also presented in the report but it may show a little bit only. Information and data used is accurate and reliable because almost of the data are from Bel Group’s internal control system. The report also mention the difficultly or risk in measurement before display the result. All the information showing in the report is existed or happened in the reporting period 2013. However, the report has only shown the information about their company and not shown the relevant information about their competitors and industry indication. Thus, the information and data only can be compared with the report in previous years. The reader needs to spend the time to find out other competitor or industry report as comparison. It is better to provide the additional information about the competitor or industry improvement that shows the strength of the company.

There has a big improvement between the CSR report with 2012 and 2013. The report is that showing additional information of the special program or activities such as “Focus”. It can provide a deep in understanding to the reader that provides more information about Bel Group’s action. There has a good structure of the report which shows the different color by the different section. The reader can clearly distinguish based on the color. Also, the report shows lots of diagrams and chart to explain the process of the activities and the change of the improvement. Reader can easily to analysis these diagrams and understand the process of the Bel Group operation.

After the evaluation of the report according to the guideline of the GRI, Bel Group’s sustainability report is fully fulfill all requirements of GRI. It is useful to obtain an understanding about Bel Group’s strategies of sustainability development. (Words: 1988)

Bibliography
Corporate Social Responsibility Report (2013). Bel Group. [Online] Available at: http://brief.fr/bel/csr-2013/
[Accessed at 18 Aug 2014]

Corporate Social Responsibility Report (2012). Bel Group. [Online] Available at:http://www.unglobalcompact.org/system/attachments/21475/original/Bel_Group_CSR_Report_2012.pdf?1366381207
[Accessed at 18 Aug 2014]

Paul, G. and Nina, S., (2010). Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility, Thomas Rennie.

Global Reporting Initiative, (2006). Version 3.1 RG – Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. Amsterdam: Global Reporting Initiative…...

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