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Project title:

Objective:
STM5A2 – CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY
Assessment Brief for Individual Report
Scrutinising a Company Report
Week 7: Thursday 17.03.16 (23:59 NO deadline extensions) Written report (1500 words)
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This project provides students with the opportunity to explore how global companies in the real world put Corporate Responsibility into practice, and to question to which degree reporting gives a company its ‘licence to operate’? You are asked to access the latest sustainability (social/ environmental) reports of a chosen global company and examine how this company communicates their business case for Corporate Responsibility.
You will analyse and evaluate the consistency and credibility in what can be claimed to be ‘sustainable’ and what can be identified as ‘greenwash’ by verifying their statements with official reporting requirements and guidelines (such as the GRI guidelines). You will make a case for how you understand the challenges and opportunities that companies face. You will assess to what extent a company’s social and environmental performance (their ‘materiality’) can be judged from the report it publishes yearly, and what strategic value does it bring? Are their sustainability efforts providing the company with a competitive advantage? You will be assessed on your ability to synthesise your findings by linking analytical reflection and relate it to the current global sustainability agenda.
Assessment
THIS COMPONENT WEIGHTS 60% OF THE FINAL GRADE FOR THIS MODULE.
The assessments will be moderated. No negotiation of marks will be possible once the final mark is given back to you with feedback.
Marks will be awarded for:
• Relevance (Demonstrating substantial understanding and appropriateness of issues)
• Research & Referencing (Ability to provide relevant data collection and up-to date documentation, and correct referencing)
• Analytical evaluation (Capacity to provide pertinent analysis, to reflect and provide substantial argument for your case)
• Application of theory (Correct use and application of CSR concepts and tools to sustain the analysis and recommendations)
• Structure & Coherence (Ability to edit, structure and formulate a coherent well written document as well as format the document in a presentable way)
The Report
This report (1500 words) should contain your own analysis and reflections on the consistency and credibility of the CSR report you have researched. You are asked to highlight the relevance of CSR to the company; how they report on their materiality; if their CSR represents real actions and credibility or just follows a trend for ‘transparency’ as a marketing strategy (‘Green-wash’) in terms of reputation management. It is important to bring in your own point of view and to question to which degree social accounting/ reporting gives a company its ‘licence to operate’
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STM5A2 – CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY
Assessment Brief for Individual Report
Guidelines for structure & contents (indicative)
Title page: the title, sub-title if any, date, student name and module.
General introduction: (c. 300 words)
Provide a brief overview of the main social and environmental issues and challenges that concern the particular sector the company you have analysed. Consider what factors have shaped CSR in that of the company’s country/ region. What is the value of reporting in your specific sector?
Role of CSR in your company’s business: (c. 800 words)
Evaluate how your CSR report is relevant and demonstrates their business activities by questioning the following:
• How does the company report on their ‘materiality’ (material impacts, targets and progress) and
is it relevant?
• How and what has CSR contributed to change the company’s core activities?
• How is CSR used? I.e. as a method for correction for bad practice, or as a way to seek new
opportunities (new markets)?
• How is CSR offering new ways of engaging with people/ employees/ consumers?
• How does the company include stakeholder input? (Through endorsement or through
challenge?)
• Where and how does the company position itself with regards to their future business? (Is it
‘business as usual’, or are they addressing future issues such as dwindling resources,
population growth, and environmental degradation?)
• Do company disclosures contribute to their beneficial perception in society at large?
Conclusion: (c. 200 words)
Present a brief summary drawing out the main points of your report highlighting a considered judgment on your findings. How is the company perceived in the media? Consider what impact CSR has on present and future of business? What recommendations can you give?
Recommendations: (c.200 words)
Lastly, present your own point of view and how the elaboration of this project may have helped you gain a better insight on the issues of Corporate Responsibility and strategic management.
Bibliography: List all the books and articles consulted as a basis for the report, only add the relevant references that you have consulted.
Guidelines for writing & formatting the report
Coherence
This project will be assessed on the way the document is structured and written. Make sure you check spelling and grammar. It is recommended to include illustrations such as images, drawings, tables, graphs if appropriate but make sure you acknowledge the sources correctly, authors/ copyright in captions under the image.
Formatting
Please present your document in a professional way, using headings and sub-headings. A clear, simple layout is always the best. It is recommended that you use a font size of 11 or 12 pts and 1.5 in line spacing for good readability.
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STM5A2 – CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY
Assessment Brief for Individual Report
Guidelines for Research & Documentation
Scrutinising a company report – What relevant information to look for:
“10-point ‘fluff-test’ of company commitment to sustainability” from InterfaceFlor report – “Just the Facts”
1. Is sustainability critical to business strategy? See if the annual report includes sustainability risks and
opportunities
2. Does the CEO discuss sustainability personally? Search the web for key speeches
3. Data history – at least five years?
4. Look at the sustainability report. Are the carbon targets absolute or normalised, e.g. divided by income or units sold? How are carbon reductions being achieved? Efficiency and in-house renewable energy are usually more sustainable than green electricity purchases and offset schemes
5. Are other environmental impacts reported and addressed, e.g. waste, waster, toxicity?
6. Does the company report and address social impacts, e.g. human rights, employment, labour conditions
in the supply chain?
7. Does the company offer services and advice to support customers’ sustainability aims?
8. For example, does it collect and recycle its products at the end of their life? Is the company’s
sustainability material objective? Do they discuss challenges and difficulties?
9. How do NGOs and the media view the company? Search for articles and campaigns.
10. These may not be accurate or unbiased but enable you to evaluate the quality of the company’s response
• To back your findings up you are should research at least 5-7 alternative reliable sources of information to cross-reference your findings in the reports with: articles, books, newspapers, journals, web-sites (the databases in the library are very useful).
• You must reference all quotes, facts and other materials you include in the report using the standardized Harvard system. You must also supply a bibliography at the end with a full list of all the references used (see the College Student Handbook for guidance).
• When providing statistics and facts, try to provide the context to give sense to the figures. E.g. reduction of 20% of total CO2 emissions since 2008.
• It is good to include in the report appropriate illustrations such as: images, drawings, tables, graphs to engage your audience as long as you make sure you acknowledge the sources correctly with authors/copyright.
Resources
Chapter 8 – Blowfield & Murray (2011), Corporate Responsibility, second edition. Oxford University Press, New York
CSR reporting:
https://www.csreurope.org/pages/en/a_guide_to_csr_in_europe_2009.html
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI):
https://www.globalreporting.org
AccountAbility:

Homepage


Business in the Community (BITC):
https://www.bitc.org.uk/integration_and_advice/cr_index/cr_index_2009_results_and_analysis/index.html
RADLEY YELDAR:
https://www.howdoesitstackup.co.uk/ar2010/
InterfaceFlor
https://www.interfaceflorcutthefluff.com/
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Assessment criteria:
STM5A2 – CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY
Assessment Brief for Individual Report

Mark

Relevance
Analysis
Application of theory
Structure & Coherence

Research & Referencing

70%+
Excellent evidence of comprehensive understanding, providing a compelling response to the issues. All aspects of brief addressed in full.
Excellent and insightful analysis throughout, showing elegance of argumentation and ability synthesize clearly showing independent and critical thinking.
Excellent use and application of CSR concepts, models and tools mentioned in lectures and seminars, including standards and best practice to sustain the analysis and recommendations.
Very logical report that is well structured and coherently presented. Eloquently written with a high standard of English, and few or no typos. A professional looking report.
Very focused, relevant research, data used effectively to back up points and used a wide range of up-to-date, suitable sources. Correct referencing.
60- 69%
Substantial evidence of understanding the material and showing a clear grasp of issues. Responds directly to the requirements of the brief.
Good analysis, clear and orderly. Contains some distinctive or independent thinking and ability to synthesize and substantiate some argumentations.
Good use and application of CSR concepts, models and tools mentioned in lectures and seminars to sustain the analysis and recommendations.
Generally coherent and logically structured report. Well written with few typos or grammatical errors, presented in a readable style and pleasant format.

Good use of research to back up points made, good range of sources, good referencing.

50- 59%
Satisfactory, yet intermittent evidence of appreciation of issues and addresses a fair range of material. Some attempt to address the requirements of the brief, but may drift away in some passages.
Reasonable analysis, but tendency to be descriptive rather than analytical in places, and lacks clear synthesis. Shows some refection yet remains mainly uncritical in argumentation.
Satisfactory and adequate understanding of CSR concepts, models and tools mentioned in lectures and seminars but not applied sufficiently to support analysis and recommendations.
Relatively well structured but suffers some consistency. Competently written with some lapses from standard grammar and spelling. Presented in acceptable format.
Some gaps in research, limited range of sources, reliant on inappropriate sources, and a few referencing errors.
40- 49%
Basic but adequate evidence of understanding of the issues but addresses a limited range of material. Some correlation with the requirements of the brief, but significant degree of irrelevance.
Poor analysis, mainly descriptive, with significant omissions. Poor editing resulting in mainly derivative work. Insufficient argumentation.
Basic understanding of CSR concepts, models and tools mentioned in lectures and seminars barely applied to the analysis and recommendations.
Poorly structured, with lack of clarity and coherence and rather simplistic. Poor standard of English with significant deficiencies in expression. Poor formatting and presentation.

Significant gaps in research, very limited range of sources used, mistakes in referencing.
30- 39%
Limited evidence of understanding of the issues addressing a narrow range of material. Very intermittent relevance to the brief and at times challenging.
Very poor analysis and mainly paraphrase and clearly lacks editing showing little or no evaluation nor argumentation of the material.
Barely adequate knowledge of CSR concepts, models and tools mentioned in lectures and seminars. Not applied to the analysis and recommendations.
Very poor structure, too much repetition, and lacks coherence. Numerous deficiencies in expression that may pose obstacles for the reader. The formatting and presentation is poor.
Very little research, poorly applied, heavily reliant on material from sources given in brief, lacking referencing.
<30%
Insufficient evidence of understanding of the issues. No relevance to the brief and very challenging comprehend.
Insufficient analysis and almost wholly derivative. Lacks development and argumentation.
Insufficient knowledge of CSR concepts, models and tools mentioned in lectures and seminars. Not applied to the analysis and recommendations.
Extremely weak structure and lacks coherence. Difficult to read and understand due to poor English.
Little or no evidence of research, and lacks referencing.
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