Transparency in CSR Rapporteringsprisen

Cathrine Ellekær Troldtoft

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

The thesis is motivated by an example of a Danish company, Mærsk, winning an award (CSR Rapporteringsprisen) for sustainability reporting while shortly after being exposed for unethical behaviour. Furthermore, it is evident that winners announce their award as an award for responsibility. The award is however “only” for the quality of the companies’ reports on responsibility and not its actual actions. The announcement can therefore be misleading for stakeholders. The purpose of the thesis is to investigate whether CSR Rapporteringsprisen establishes transparency about the winners’ actual efforts within social responsibility. Furthermore it investigates how the organization behind the award (FSR) can modify its criteria in order to ensure transparency and whether it is in fact FSR’s role to ensure transparency. The methodical approach entails a literature review that provides a theoretical foundation on which the analysis is based. Combined with primary empirical data from an interview with chairman of the CSR committee of FSR, Birgitte Mogensen, and secondary data from international reports on CSR reporting, the thesis proposes areas in which FSR can alter its information disclosure to enhance transparency. The areas include important steps in the organizations process of finding the winners. The thesis furthermore investigates the potential of enhanced transparency within four specific areas. The conclusion is, that while transparency is enhanced when companies implement comparable baselines it is not the role of FSR to set those baselines. FSR should rather ensure the existence and quality of the baselines. Furthermore, the conclusion suggest that a third-party assurance enhances transparency. It is however difficult for FSR to include that in its criteria for the award as the organisation is comprised of people selling third-party assurance. Lastly, a suggestion of including reporting on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a criterion is investigated. Due to lack of standardization within reporting on the SDGs, the suggestions in rejected until companies’ adoption of the SDGs is on a more mature state. The thesis also includes an outlook on how FSR might further establish its role as an organisation who seeks to evolve corporate social responsibility.

EducationsMSc in Organisational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2018
Number of pages83