17 Dec, 2019

Social challenges continue to swarm corporates. Almost every advertisement, social media post, employee communication and annual report speaks of societal challenges.

Strong CSR programs build deep connections with key stakeholders, employees, and customers. Doing good for the environment is no longer an exception, but rather an expectation.

Communicating and reporting these CSR activities are evolving. Let’s look at some CSR trends that we look forward to in 2020.

Environmental, Social and Governance

Increase in ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) factors is inevitable. Investors are adamant about companies filing sustainability reports. The filing of sustainability reports is not a new trend. Investor decisions are beginning to depend on it.

In 2020, companies that invest time and resources in measuring social and environmental impact will lead the way in influencing ethical fund investing. There is bound to be an increase in companies seeking an integrated approach.

This integrated approach combines investor outreach activities with corporate governance, CSR and investor relations.

Employees at the wheel

Employees are set to be the centre of inspiration in CSR reports. In fact, the entire CSR strategy will be crafted around them.

The employees’ passion, commitment, endeavour, and activities will be highlighted. They deserve it. This also elevates the brand’s outlook towards its employees. The employees will sense this and volunteer for the company’s cause.

Companies need to forge relationships with their workforce. With social media providing an output for individuals to air their concerns, companies are listening. Companies are focused on retention efforts, personnel recruitment, and training.

The voices of employees are elevated through resources and tools such as CSR reports and digital annual reports. The Gen Z (individuals born after the year 1995) is the successor to the millennial generation. Their impact on society and workplace culture cannot be underestimated.

Understanding this generation’s views on diversity, corporation and climate change will be interesting for companies. The CSR should in addition to its general tone of ‘inclusion’ and ‘diversity’, should also include and encourage that ‘belonging’ feeling amongst their employees.

The Age of Transparency

Investors interest in transparency will accelerate immensely next year. Every CSR activity that is either being identified, formulated or discussed will need to be more transparent.

Disclosure and public transparency will be the need of the hour. Companies will need to provide a transparent roadmap of activities and progress. All this will help drive collective impact.

A growing list of technological advancements will make radical transparency policies uncover new opportunities. Each industry has its own challenges. Application of technology helps industries drive smarter decisions, develop economic solutions and improve human rights practices.

There will be an expected rise in discussions as to how 5G, artificial intelligence and internet, leverage advancements towards sustainable development. There could be an AI tool that can turn data into infographics. Visuals will be readily available through apps. The opportunities are endless.

‘Impact’ is the keyword

Generating impact will be the top agenda among investors. Social impact, within both brand strategies and CSR, will be the requirement.

Corporate Social Responsibility continues to mature into a business strategy. Companies are ready to digitally accelerate towards preparing an impactful CSR strategy.

This impact should be illustrated through the CSR report as well. The report is an opportunity to share CSR activities. The report needs to stand out. Through visual storytelling, the CSR report becomes more meaningful and impactful.

Add more impact to a CSR report by getting an award-winning annual report design agency to design it.