Standard Chartered Africa impact report shows the evolution of a new reporting trend

Seeing companies producing socio-economic impact reports is not a new phenomena.

Quite a few companies now do this. From Heineken to Imperial Tobacco to Nestle, to SAB Miller to Standard Chartered, I believe these kinds of reports represent a growing trend.

Looking at the news on tax and disclosure over the last few days (here's a sample), companies are going to have to spend more time demonstrating where and how they add value given perceptions on how they extract value.

CSR reports have not delivered on that.

They represent a demonstration of useful management processes and overall performance (to a degree) but lack credibility for much else, as things stand.

So reports such as this new one from Standard Chartered represent, I believe, a significant future trend of reporting on country, region, or sector impacts.

There's also a more niche trend, beyond country or region, to look at areas such as m-health. I can see more and more of these coming out in the next few years too.

Methodologies, whilst differing, are evolving, and the WBCSD offers a guide.

Ethical Corporation also published a report looking at methodologies and strategy.

Here's a couple of the stats from the Standard Chartered report on what their report writers feel they the company has achieved for social/economic good:
  • Supporting 1.9 million jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa through direct and indirect impact - that's around 0.6% of the region's total workforce
  • Contributing 1.2% of the region's GDP - USD10.7 billion of value added to the economy
  • Providing financing support to African trade, to help connect the region with world markets: in 2013 we supported trade worth USD7.2 billion

These reports represent a good start. They are an evolving combination of science and art, and we'll soon be seeing a lots more of them, particularly where emerging markets are concerned. 

If interested in emerging markets, one of my new ventures, Innovation Forum, may be worth taking a look at. We are hosting a Ghana investment and sustainability event on June 19 in London.

(some related blog posts are here)


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