CSR Reports and publications are low on data, words and substance. They are filled with pictures, cute icons and large font. As AntiCSR usually points out, Corporate Social Responsibility is superficial, simplistic and perfidious. Corporations prove this with CSR publications. These ‘reports’ are usually just a collage of large fonts and pretty pictures.
CSR Report Criticism
The large fonts show off positive but misleading statistics. These statistics supposedly prove that the company is pro-planet and pro-people. Corporations boast on the amount of charity raised: $124 BILLION! The percentage of staff that is female or ethnic minority: 152% ! Amount of waste saved: 75 TONNES! And of course the carbon emissions reduced: 965 MEGA-TONNES!
There’s usually no proof or explanations on how these statistics are derived. Just two sentences and a picture.
The cute icons and graphics is where CSR really shines. Looking at CSR publications is like watching a children’s TV show. Whimsical and cartoonish, it is symbolic of the nature of CSR.
Real corporate reports are filled with data and information. Verifiable and accurate. CSR reports not only resemble advertisements, but children’s advertisements. Even academic videos made about CSR tend to be cartoons.
CSR reports are primarily designed for appeasement and advertising. They do not convey meaningful information, nor are they meant too. Corporations do CSR because they think they’re supposed to. The fashion fad nature of CSR means they all end up looking they same. When you combine this fad effect with the superficial and simplistic pretense of CSR, you get CSR cartoons.
This says something about the target market for CSR. Do consumers really care about Corporate Social Responsibility? Is their quest for Social Responsibility satisfied by cartoonish info-graphics? Ultimately, companies pretend to do CSR and consumers pretend to care.