Wragge’s first report: was our verdict too harsh?July 2009
A critical review of Wragge & Co’s first CSR report appeared in EP this May. This month Tom Peyton of Enact Consulting gives an alternative view
I have long championed the view that CSR is about what you do and the results you achieve. So I believe too much effort is being spent on the structure and content of CSR reports rather than why and how CSR is being done. The business world seems to spend more time on reports than CSR management or performance. I was therefore disappointed in your article ‘more diligence needed’ in the May issue (EP11, issue 1, p2), which seemed to discredit the law firm Wragge & Co’s first report.
My company has no business with Wragge and I know no one who works there. I think Wragge should be congratulated primarily on their CSR work, but also on the quality of their report, which was commendably brief, engaging, material and action-oriented. Wragge told a good story about what it does, how it goes about it, and the engagement of its staff in delivering benefits to communities and the environment.
I could find no evidence of Wragge having claimed the report to be a ‘formal, externally assured summary’ and your article is dismissive of LBG’s involvement in helping Wragge with their performance indicators. You state that the lack of external assurance ‘could easily undermine a reader’s confidence’, but many assurance statements are toothless, written by auditors, who have too much to lose by being critical .
You commend Wragge, quite rightly, for its work and indicators on diversity and community, but suggest they are poor on environment and suppliers. But law firms have limited material impacts in these areas. However, Wragge’s commitment to engage with its external partners to encourage them to improve their own CSR performance is welcome and an indication that Wragge has the supply chain in its sights.
The firm concentrates on its material issues, tells a story of interest with a sufficiency of data, and around a team of people which is very much a part of the business. Personally, I think that is something to be proud of.
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