Over the last decade, social reporting has obtained the renewed attention from various individuals and institutions belonging to the business world, the academic context, the professional universe and public institutions.
The Study Group for Social Report played a major role in the Italian context, contributing to spread the culture of social responsibility, stimulating field research activities and leading businesses down the path towards the drafting of a social report.
About the latter, it has been confirmed by many that a correct understanding of the social reporting phenomenon begins with considering the reporting tool not as a means in itself but as a process entailing a progressive but continuous engagement of the whole business organization so to:
- increase clearness and transparency of social reporting, making it possible to enhance the degree of space and time comparability between the reports targeted for the various stakeholders;
- stimulate the upstream creation of an informative system aimed at leading the company’s management through its specific perspective of the social responsibility.
The aforementioned deepening has thus started from the formerly carried out work, examining the following topics:
- social performance rating through metrics, aimed to make the monitoring of sustainability parameters more effective, both for internal management purposes and, in particular, for increased transparency and utility of the information displayed in social reports;
- the rationale inspiring the business in building such a performance rating system; the idea is to suggest, as previously done through Social Reporting Standards, a methodological approach stimulating businesses to seek effectiveness in social reporting, without, however, giving up the specificity of business context and the spontaneity of the communication flow.
Therefore, the main aim of the Research Group on performance metrics was to propose a standard minimum level in social performance rating, considered as necessary to fulfill the transparency and clearness principle, without, nevertheless, hedging in such proposal the unavoidable complexity and extent of the business management social issues.
By way of clarification, the current activity of the Research Group continues the process started by the Research Document n. 2 “Performance metrics for reporting and sustainability rating”. The environmental performance metrics and added value tables are not here addressed, exception made for a few brief hints, as they are deeply discussed in “Environmental Reporting and Added Value”.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. The Working Group
2. The Document Objectives
3. The Document Structure and Methodological Approach
Synthesis of the Carried Out Empiric Researches
1. The Performance Metrics Proposed by the Standard Setters
2. The Performance Metrics in the Italian and International Reporting Practices
A Performance Metrics Proposal for Social Reporting
1. The Base Rationale in the Metrics Identification
2. Personnel Metrics
3. Partners/Shareholders Metrics
4. Sponsors Metrics
5. Customers/Users Metrics
6. Suppliers Metrics
7. Community Metrics
8. Public Administration Metrics
9. Business System Metrics Appendix – Tables for the Comparison of the Metrics Proposed by the Standard and the Practices