Report Card on Our Annual Report

Recently, we asked for feedback on our annual report from some of our stakeholders, including analysts, NGOs, bloggers, media and opinion leaders. It was an anonymous survey, unless the person choose to share their information, and here’s some of what they had to say.

Most rated the report — which combines our financial and our environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance — as “excellent,” a smaller group as “average” and one person as “poor” compared to other integrated reports. (We didn’t like seeing the “poor,” but some of the commentary helped us guess the thought and context behind the rating.) 

Perceptions of our strategy and performance varied depending on the individual’s views of sustainability. While some investors viewed a strong focus on environmental issues as less relevant to their needs, NGO respondents pressed for greater progress across products, packaging, testing and reporting. This is one of the challenges of producing one report that combines financial and ESG performance. It’s aiming to serve multiple stakeholders without becoming so lengthy with detail that few have time to read it.

People told us they liked the functionality of the online report, the length and use of videos and storytelling to report on our past performance. But they wanted to see more goal setting, greater transparency around longer-term planning and sustainability management, and greater depth of coverage on material topics (e.g., climate change, supply chain and ingredients).

So as we already begin planning for our FY13 report, we are keeping this feedback handy. We’ll look for opportunities to provide more strategic context and where possible, share more insight into goal setting. We’ve also begun the path to assurance of our CR metrics, much like we do our financial statements, and anticipate assuring more of our ESG metrics in the FY13 report.

We won’t be able to answer every question or meet all needs, but we do see ways we can continue to improve the transparency in our next annual report. In the meantime, we welcome your input and comments on the FY12 Annual Report.