Opinion: From our Readers - What do CSR reports actually achieve?

I'm torn after reading that Vodafone scooped the top CSR reporting award again this year (News, 10 April).

On the one hand, it's good to hear CSR reporting is getting stronger and players remain committed in the downturn. I hear plenty of companies saying this, but none seem bold enough to explain how it will be achieved against the pressure for change affecting every part of their business.

On the other hand, it's disappointing to see the categories being awarded. When I worked on the first BT CSR reports back in the early 1990s, the awards agenda was remarkably similar. At that time, CSR reporting was a pioneering field, but these days the quest for reputation in responsibility has moved into the mainstream.

People are more likely to judge companies by what they read on the Guardian website, conversations with staff, videos they find on YouTube or packaging they read before tossing it into the recycling bin. When was the last time a mum or a teenager reached for a CSR report, I wonder?

It would be great to see those producing CSR reports step forward in the digital age to put greater emphasis on what they achieve in terms of engagement and interaction.

Neil Bayley, sustainability group leader, director, Porter Novelli

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