Employees are CSR Stakeholders

“If It’s Not Public, You’re Not Doing It”

 This blog is about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in general and especially about the disclosure of EcoVadis Premium Reports to employees as key stakeholders in the CSR management of their employer.

 EcoVadis got a hook in its name. It probably is intended to stand for “CSR checked”. Employees are key stakeholders in the CSR management of their organization. How seriously can one take the green EcoVadis check mark if the employees of audited organizations cannot scrutinize the stories which their employers tell to EcoVadis and which EcoVadis turnes into a well structured “Premium Report”? That 15 pages profiles also contains a 3 pages chapter “LABOR PRACTICES & HUMAN RIGHTS (LAB)”.


 Today, customers are not just buying products and services from their suppliers. Considering their reputation and their liabilities as purchasers and employers, especially large corporations are under immense pressure from stakeholders to be transparent about their sustainability and CSR practices, and this includes their supply chains.

 EcoVadis’ business is reputation management. EcoVadis Members can subscribe to a “Premium Plan” where EcoVadis offers “customized 360° monitoring of CSR news and events” related their company.

 Plans and prices: For being evaluated by EcoVadis in 2016, to my understanding suppliers (members) have to pay 480€ for a “Basic” one year plan. For a subscription to the “Premium” one year plan (with the 15 pages EcoVadis Premium Report) they pay 1200€. (The “Corporate” one year plan would cost them 4900€.) Subscribers to the Premium Plan get “Premium badges”, “certificates” and a “15 page profile” to proactively tell their “CSR success story” in their websites, PR, etc. Thus, EcoVadis does support the disclosure of the EcoVadis Premium Report (the profile) to the public. But only few companies to that.

 250 young and mostly low payed employees helped EcoVadis in “expanding activity by more than 50% in 2015”. EcoVadis’ business is to evaluate the CSR management of suppliers in a higly standadized way. Around 25000 suppliers from more that 100 countries are registered with the EcoVadis platform, around 6000 “members” per year are evaluated. Buying from a supplier ranked high by EcoVadis gives purchasers a good conscience. They think, that they don’t need to put effort in audits of sites of suppliers awarded with “Gold” or “Silver”.

 An EcoVadis Premium Report shows well structured and in detail what a supplier reported to EcoVadis. But there is a weak point: If the CSR of a supplier has been awarded with “Gold” by EcoVadis and if that supplier does not disclose the related EcoVadis Premium Report at least to the own employees, then there must be something wrong with the report. Employees are major stakeholders in their employer’s CSR management. The chapter “LABOR PRACTICES & HUMAN RIGHTS (LAB)” in the EcoVadis Premium Report is their’s.

 It’s the GIGO Principle: EcoVadis offers an excellent framework for standardized CSI reporting. That shows that a well structured presentation of “soft” issues is possible. But if the input is flawed (garbage in), the output of a document audit (remote audit) will be flawed as well (garbage out). The good news: Suppliers assessed by EcoVadis can turn the weak point of the EcoVadis method into a strength. There already are suppliers who disclose their EcoVadis Premium Report to their employees as stakeholders of their CSR management system. They enable their own employees to scrutinize the EcoVadis Premium Report with their insider knowledge. Some suppliers even publish the report in the Internet.

Platinum
 If you call suppliers “courageous” because they disclose their EcoVadis Premium Report to their employees or even to the public, you still don’t really understand what CSR is about. Rather than being courageous, these companies simply walk the CSR talk and display best practice leadership – which regrettably is not fostered by EcoVadis yet. Suppliers with transparent CSR reporting deserve “Platinum”. As long as EcoVadis doesn’t provide such an award, I’ll try my best to take care of that.

“Employees are a vital audience
for reporting on sustainability”

 http://www.ecovadis.com/sustainability-reporting/

Meeting the expectations of employees

Employees are a vital audience for reporting on sustainability, They are primary audience for presentation of the reporting as contributes to an increase in employee retention and loyalty which in turn impacts postively the workforce as a whole which ultimately leads to better performances.

 Then why doesn’t EcoVadis support employees who want to read their employer’s EcoVadis Premium Report? Please walk the talk.

Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI)

Dear Luis Neves,

Employees are stakeholders in CSR of their Employers.

http://www.ecovadis.com/sustainability-reporting/ says: “… Meeting the expectations of employees – Employees are a vital audience for reporting on sustainability, They are primary audience for presentation of the reporting as contributes to an increase in employee retention and loyalty which in turn impacts postively the workforce as a whole which ultimately leads to better performances. …”

In June 2013, the GeSI started to collaborate with EcoVadis:
http://gesi.org/news?news_id=47

Presently you are the chairman of the GeSI. In collaboration with members from major Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies and organisations around the globe, the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) is a leading source of impartial information, resources and best practices for achieving integrated social and environmental sustainability through ICT. Presently the GeSI represents around 40 of the world’s leading service providers and vendors.

My question to you: I think, EcoVadis members should disclose their EcoVadis Premium Reports at least to their Employees. Does the GeSI support that Idea?

It’s not theory. Some EcoVadis members already publish their EcoVadis Premium Reports even in the Internet: http://platinumcsr.org/the-platinum-award

Best regards,
Goetz Kluge


Links:

“Railsponsible” Sustainable Procurement with EcoVadis

“Railsponsible” is about responsible railways. Members today: Abellio, Alstom, Bombardier, DB (DB Arriva, DB Schenker), Knorr-Bremse, SNCF and SKF. (Where is Dutch Railways? I don’t see the founding member Nederlandse Spoorwegen aka “NedTrain” in the list.)

 In https://www.ecovadis.com/de/stories/railsponsible-sustainable-procurement/, EcoVadis advertises “Railsponsible” Sustainable Procurement with EcoVadis. http://railsponsible.org/supplier-assessments/ shows how EcoVadis engages its members in getting more members. Excellent marketing.

 Railsponsible members ask their suppliers to join the EcoVadis bandwagon. I asked a Railsponsible member (https://twitter.com/Alstom/status/737291259472191488): @Alstom
Do #Railsponsible members disclose their #EcoVadis Premium Report in the Internet – or at least to their employees?
I also asked Railsponsible directly using their contact form. I am curious how the “railsponsibly” members treat their own employees as stakeholders in the CSR of their employer.

Together for Sustainability
Together with Employees?

To:
        The administration and the members of
        Together for Sustainability AISBL (TfS)
        Avenue Edmond van Nieuwenhuyse 4
        1160 Auderghem
        Belgium

 
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen

The TfS members use the services of EcoVadis. The employees of your companies are key stakeholders in the CSR management of your company. Do you, as members of TfS and EcoVadis, disclose the EcoVadis Premium Reports to your employees?

EcoVadis wants to dominate
the US Market

http://www.presidio.edu/academics/experiential-learning/partner-organizations/ecovadis

[…] Terra Nova developed a robust financial tool, known as the Variable EcoVadis Scenario Projection Analysis (VESPA) model, in order to ensure that all of its strategic recommendations were underpinned by thorough financial forecasting and robust data analysis. This rigorous and methodological approach resulted in a suite of three strategies, all supported by actionable tactics that, if employed, would allow EcoVadis the greatest chance at success in achieving its goal of dominating the US market.

 One objective of PlatinumCSR.org is to make you aware of problems which may be caused by allowing EcoVadis to dominate the CSR assessment business.

中国特色的

 No doubt, Huawei is a renown leader in protecting human rights. In China these are human rights in “Chinese coloration”: 中国特色的 = zhōngguó tèsè de. I lived and worked in China long enough to know well, what I am talking about.

 EcoVadis grows aggressively. They tweet: “How Sustainability Is Becoming A Competitive Advantage In China”. I guess that EcoVadis sees outstanding chances for its business to grow significantly in China and needs success stories from Chinese big players. EcoVadis is an independent company, but it surely is not independent from its business interests.

–> Questions to suppliers

OHSAS 18001 Incident Reporting

 Regrettably, EcoVadis tolerates incomplete incident reporting. As for occupational health and safety, EcoVadis only expects reporting on the accident severity rate and the accident frequency rate. That kind of reporting is not the state of the art anymore. EcoVadis allows OHSAS 18001 certified suppliers to get away with incomplete reporting (many of them still keep doing that) although “accident” in OHSAS 18001:1999 for a good reason has been replaced by “incident” in OHSAS 18001:2007. Since 2007, according to clause 3.8 (ill health) and 3.9 (incident) there are twelve kinds of incidents:

12 Incidents in Occupational Health & Safety

In words:
Incidents which …

          … have caused physical ill health
          … have worsened physical ill health
          … could have caused physical ill health
          … could have worsened physical ill health
          … have caused mental ill health
          … have worsened mental ill health
          … could have caused mental ill health
          … could have worsened mental ill health
          … have caused injury
          … could have caused injury
          … have caused fatality
          … could have caused fatality

    Or in other words (strictly following clause 3.8 and clause 3.9 of OHSAS 18001:2007):
    Incidents in which …
          … physical ill health occurred
          … physical ill health worsened
          … physical ill health could have occurred
          … physical ill health could have worsened
          … mental ill health occurred
          … mental ill health worsened
          … mental ill health could have occurred
          … mental ill health could have worsened
          … injury occurred
          … injury could have occurred
          … fatality occurred
          … fatality could have occurred

     
    “Incident” and “ill health” according to OHSAS 18001:

    • Incident: Work-related event(s) in which
      • an injury
      • or ill health (regardless of severity)
      • or fatality

      occurred, or could have occurred.

    • Ill health: Identifiable, adverse physical or mental condition arising from and/or made worse by a work activity and/or work-related situation.

Self-Interest of CSR Rating Providers

http://adage.com/article/guest-columnists/ways-improve-csr/295139/

What Gets the Worst Marketing ROI? Your Corporate Social Responsibility Report
Three Ways to Improve the Value of Your CSR Report

By Paul Klein. Published on September 26, 2014.

[…]

Finally, CSR reporting has become a case of the tail wagging the dog. There is a growing industry of suppliers that specialize in defining, collecting and packaging environmental, social and governance (ESG) data. This industry advocates for annual reporting but, given the results, the current model seems to be driven by self-interest rather than real value.

[…]

The real value (and objective) could be reduced scrunity.