Interest in Corporate Social Reporting

There has, however, also been a long history of organizations independent of the accountable organization producing social and/or environmental reports about the accountable organizations. These are typically known as external social audits (Gibson, Gray, Laing, and Dey, 2002). Social audits act as a ‘balancing view’ in the face of the considerable resources that organizations have at their disposal to put their own point of view and to offer their own emphasis on their activities (Gibson, et al., 2002).
Gibson, et al, undertook to find out how much of the desired information was already disclosed, albeit hidden, in the usual annual and various other company-produced reports. They found corporations already supply much of the information being sought. Using a simple cut and paste approach extracted much information relevant to social and environmental issues. The product of such an effort is called a Silent Account. It is a concise selection of information, without commentary, assembled without being taken out of context, and then evaluated. It often reveals more than the corporations suspect, and can be a valuable source of raw data from which to explore issues to follow up.
The information used for the compilation of a Shadow Account is compiled in a similar way, without commentary or analysis, but entirely from the public but non-company produced sources. No effort is made to distinguish between good news and bad news, and it’s a given that It is very likely…that a number of the items in the Shadow Report are, innbsp.actuality, company-produced items which journalists have simply adapted (emphasis in the original) (Gibson, et al., 2002). For the purposes of comparability in evaluation, categories of information not supplied by the corporation, and therefore not available for the Silent Account, were also excluded from the Shadow Account.