The above table 1 showed that most corporate responsibility and sustainability (CRS) published reports would contain some sorts of KPI’s as 87.5% of the sampled CRS reports did. But the analysis presents 10% of sampled CRS reports as contained corporations self -defined KPI’s contents, a confirmation of rarity of KPI’s definition and specification 3 years after Henriques (2010) CORE report on non-financial reporting and UK government review of Companies Act (2006). However, from the analysis of sample reports we found Tesco retailer to have stand out as an ideal example of report layout plan and with specification and definition of KPI’s. Although, Tesco has add new CRS oriented values called “Scale of Good Scorecard’ to the existing business relationship values as they expressed that it would “help to monitor our progress against our ambitions we have carefully selected a set of measures so that we can hold ourselves to account and so our stakeholders can see how we are performing”.
This prompted Tesco, Chairman -Sir Richard Broadbent to say “this report is about Tesco and society. It marks a departure from our previous corporate responsibility reports’’ (Tesco, 2013). Other few corporations expressed that their KPI’s was in line with GRI reference index and UNGlobal Compact principles and about 12.5% of the sample CRS report did not have any form of identifiable KPI’s. CRS reports show high degree of variability in presentation of non-financial information and so it is with KPI’s contents description where they are provided, meaning there has not been significant changes after Henriques (2010) CORE report. The lack of standard reporting format thus supports the promotion of non-specification and definition of CRS KPI when placed in the context of standardisation of financial performance reporting. Even within industry the variability are very significant as illustrated by a comparison of Tesco and Marks and Spencer, both large scale international retailers publishing CRS reports with KPI’s described in table 2 below:
A review of CRS KPI’s in relation to CRS programme of intervention for suppliers that potentially might be servicing both Tesco and M&S described in table 2 above simply show that CRS KPI’s specification and definition are in a state of chaos within industry and across industries. Yet, without “Like for Like” benchmark M&S claimed that “since we launched Plan A in 2007 we have received over 100 awards covering all aspects of sustainability” (M&S, 2013). The question is what industry CRS KPI’s were these awards based upon? As the answer to this question is practical none due to inexistence of industry stakeholders consensus based CRS KPI’s. Therefore, there might be a danger of reputational risk associated with using corporation self -defined CRS KPI’s in foreseeable future for companies in the same shoe as M&S. As we recalled from the statement of Tesco chairman earlier presented in this section that simple says we have new values now “this report is about Tesco and society. It marks a departure from our previous corporate responsibility reports” (Tesco, 2013). whether the statement was deliberate or coincidental, it provides a form of mitigation against futuristic reputational damages that might arise as a result of their past CRS performance reporting prior to the current selfdefined CRS KPI’s “Scale of Good Scorecard”.
Danger of Non- Multi-Stakeholders’ Key Performance Indicators Specification and Definition
To illustrate discussion of findings outcomes in relation to reputational damage risk associated with CRS reporting based on self -defined CRS KPI’s, a brief review of the case of Cadbury would suffice. UK. Cadbury now Kraft, a pioneer cocoa and chocolate manaufacturer with United Kingdom royal warrant of 1854 was at the forefront promotion of corporate responsibility in Europe at their Bourneville factory. A notable examples of the company’s CRS oriented programme ahead of practice at that period of time was democratically elected works council men and women with equal numbers of management and worker representatives saddled with responsibilities for working conditions, health, safety, education, training and the social life of the factory and its workers (Cadbury, 2013). By 2008 in their CRS report Cadbury said: “Ethical business sits at the heart of Cadbury. It always has. It is part of who we are, our values, our heritage, our policies and the way we behave”. But the financial times investigation found Cadbury had paid an average of £6.4m a year in tax on profits averaging £100m for the decade before it was taken over by Kraft. What went wrong? The answer can be inferred from the response of the company former senior director to CRS violations accusations, “I believe that we always did the correct thing. But [Cadbury] was run as an international business’.” Then conceded some schemes exposed by Financial Times investigation looked “pretty aggressive”, but were not out of line with what “a lot of companies did” (Guardian, 2013). One can only imagin the level of reputational damage this would have done to Cadbury, if the company has not been taken over by Kraft. The problems lie in directors “believe” in their self -defined CRS KPI’s. So, these and many corporate responsibility violations incidences across industries point out the danger of non- multi-stakeholders’ KPI’s specification and definition.
Chaotic CRS KPI’s Implication for World Sustainable Development Performance
The world’s population current estimate is 7 billion with projection of increase to 9 billion by 2050. Situation analysis shows that demand for diminishing natural resources is growing while income gaps are widening. Sustainability calls for a decent standard of living for everyone today without compromising the needs of future generation (United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development -UNCSD, 2012). Currently, the world sustainability is not on track not only because of the CRS principles violations or irresponsible practices by businesses; but national culture that is responsibility characteristics of governments and effectiveness of public institutions have majorly influenced the corporate behavior towards contribution to sustainable performances missed targets. It is a reflex action for an individual or a company, largely irrespective of their values, to behave differently in a well organised ethical national environment than in one which is not (Katsoulakos and Katsoulacos, 2006b). So, if CRS KPI’s that would enable businesses to contribute to delivery of world sustainable development is “Chaotic” resulting into disorganised CRS performance measurement and reporting within industry and across industry; then slow level of progress towards achievement of sustainable development 20 years after the landmark 1992 Earth Summit in Rio is part of the consequences (United Nations Development Programme, 2011). Also, UNCSD tagged Rio+20 focus on jobs , energy, cities, food, water, oceans and disasters in need of urgent solutions with specific KPI’s across these areas of concentration to bring back on track the world sustainable development performances. Yet none of the sample FTSE 100 companies CRS reports KPI’s contents mirror world sustainable development KPI’s. So, if the basis for business contribution to the solution is fundamentally chaotic, then it does imply that there are uncertainties regarding “The Future We Want” (UNCSD, 2012).
The above over all discussions did strengthen Katsoulakos and Katsoulacos, (2006a) arguments that CRS challenge represents a tall order for the business world that is accustomed to worrying about the next contract and the annual financial performance rather world sustainable development performance. The emerged requirements for corporate support to sustainable development probably represent a cultural shock that will take time to sink in the business way of thinking and working. If new business bound sustainability model to guide CRS performance management is to be establish, CRS specification and definition within CRS reporting system need to be sort out first as evidence from this paper. It is on this basis that we present our recommendation.