engagement & impact

Ten years of Guilé Reporting Assessment

To carry out this mission, Fondation Guilé designed in 2006 a methodology enabling the continuous improvement of CSR practices: the GuiléReportingAssessmentTM. Over the course of a decade, a hundred companies from these engagement funds have been evaluated on their level of integration of the Global Compact principles. During Fondation Guilé’s dialogues with senior representatives of the monitored companies, the assessment results were presented and improvement measures discussed. The impact of this engagement is described in a report published by the foundation, « 10 Years of Guilé Reporting Assessments – Developments, impacts and learnings »

 

Methodology Guilé Reporting Assessment

Fondation Guilé has always been convinced that corporate extra-financial reporting is a driver of change, externally as well as internally. It has the potential to enhance stakeholders’ perception of a company, and to build trust. It is now acknowledged that CSR reporting acts as a stimulus for internal development and has a positive impact on business decisions and outcomes.

The Guilé Engagement Team has developed the GuiléReportingAssessment™ methodology since 2006, to provide an external view of the quality and comprehensiveness of a company’s CSR reporting. This analysis has produced immediate benefits by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of CSR disclosure, strategy and implementation.

 

The Guilé assessment was aimed at identifying strengths and weaknesses and offers valuable perspectives for further improving a company’s implementation of and reporting on sustainability.

Catalyst for the 10 principles

In 2006, Fondation Guile signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Global Compact office to act as a booster for its 10 principles.

Since then, Fondation Guilé has been actively encouraging compliance with the universal principles of the United Nations Global Compact. These 10 principles, covering human rights, the right to work, environmental protection, and the fight against corruption, are universally applicable to varying extents, regardless of the size of a company or the region in which it operates.

Fondation Guilé also collaborated with the UN Global Compact in designing the “Blueprint for Corporate Sustainability Leadership”. The project was initiated at a private event which took place during the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting on 29 January 2010. The event was hosted by Fondation Guilé in cooperation with the Swiss Government (represented by SDC), KPMG and Novo Nordisk.

The proposal for a “Blueprint for Corporate Sustainability Leadership in the Context of the UN Global Compact” was presented by the Head of the Guilé Engagement Team. Important inputs for the design and development of the Blueprint were collected through discussions with high-level representatives from the private and public sector as well as the UN.

These findings informed Fondation Guilé’s work on the Blueprint and defined leadership within the Global Compact over three distinct dimensions: a) integrating the 10 principles into strategies and operations b) taking action in support of broader UN goals and issues and c) engaging with the UN Global Compact.

In the following, the rationale, structure and in particular the key components of the identified leadership dimensions were discussed and further developed together with the core team of the Global Compact Office. The Blueprint was launched at the UN Global Compact Leaders’ Summit 2010 in New York.

Dialogues with multinationals

The objective of Fondation Guilé was to convince business leaders to create value not only for shareholders but also for other stakeholders in their ecosystem: employees, community, customers and suppliers.

We have been in dialogue for 10 years with more than 200 multinationals, because this is the most effective way to encourage them to change. The results of our GuiléReportingAssessmentTM analysis form the basis of this constructive interaction.

This approach has led to a positive transformation in multinationals. The example of peers and the desire to maintain a good reputation are powerful motivators for these companies. After the GuiléReportingAssessmentTM analysis, the foundation identifies gaps in the company’s public information and provides recommendations for progress that are delivered to the CEO and to the person responsible for CSR.

→ if these gaps can be filled because the information exists, the discussion will focus on the relevance of deliverables, and sometimes on the management of risks and opportunities related to transparency, taking into account constraints such as the reaction of NGOs or internal legal department guidelines.

→ if shortcomings are caused by a lack of action, dialogue will come from a more strategic angle, and a discussion with managers will begin.

Insights from 10 years of engagement

The continuous exchange with high-profile representatives of leading companies from different industries across the globe provided us with invaluable insights at different levels: first of all, it was an effective means for keeping up to date with overall trends in corporate sustainability. Secondly, we were able to recognize and understand distinctive patterns in different industries and geographical or cultural areas. Thirdly, the dialogues enabled us to gain an in-depth understanding of the rationale behind a company’s sustainability reporting.

For example the reluctance to publish objectives hampered the reporting of clear, measurable achievements. How, for example, can a reader know whether a certain decrease in CO2 emissions is a real achievement if the company has not published any clear statement about their ambitions previously? Even more disputed was the question of whether a company also publishes its non-achievements. In our view, a company which admits that it has failed to achieve goals it had set for itself, comes across as being sincere. What is more, the failure to achieve a goal also suggests that a company has been setting ambitious goals for itself. By contrast, companies which permanently achieve all of their targets, sometimes far ahead of time, beg the question of whether they only focus on ‘low hanging fruits’. However, as some company representatives admitted, the question of whether they should admit ‘failure’ was an ongoing point of contention among representatives from different departments, and in some cases it touched on the very foundation of their overall corporate culture.

While there has been a proliferation of sustainability ratings over the past years, it is safe to say that the GuiléReportingAssessmentTM and the work of the Guilé Engagement Team stand out in terms of the thorough way in which a company’s information is screened and discussed. → View full report

Testimonies

“We very much appreciate the Guilé reporting assessments: they are based on a clear and accurate framework. And last but not least there is always an honest and constructive dialogue between Fondation Guilé and Geberit.” Christian Buhl, CEO of Geberit

“ … I am very grateful for your recognition of Total’s outstanding performance in reporting on sustainable issues. … I nevertheless understood that we could improve in terms of KPIs and examples to illustrate Total’s concrete actions; we will take your point into consideration and see how we can better fulfill this requirement. …” Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Total

“We are thankful to Fondation Guilé for taking the time to assess and challenge our Creating Shared Value reporting results and sustainability disclosures each year. Our engagement with Fondation Guilé is one of the trusting relationships we have with stakeholders, and we take its recommendations into account in our implementation and reporting disclosure. …” Janet Voûte, Global Head of Public Affairs Nestlé

“… Thank you for your deep screening of our CSR Reporting and activities. Your regular analysis is helping us to better identify areas of improvement. … I wish for us to continue this fruitful dialogue with the Fondation Guilé in the future.” Maurice Lévy, Chairman of the Management Board and CEO of Publicis

“We have found this continuous evaluation and engagement was very helpful to put our work on the right track and to focus our limited resources on material issues.” Strategic Development Department of China Mobile

Within ten years of engagement, we have received dozens of quotes recognizing Fondation Guilé’s added value through our work on companies’ CSR strategy and reporting. We only quoted a few of them, but we remain very impressed by the commitment of all the leaders that we met and grateful to our consultants’ network for building trustful relationships over the years.