A good corporate citizen reports on tax avoidance practices

GRI launches today it’s fourth generation guideline for Corporate Social Responsibility. The new guideline will probably be an extended version of G3, but that should not scare you of, if you accept it as a guideline.

Like the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual guides psychiatrists in the wide field of mental disorders helping them to talk the same language worldwide, G4 should be the manual for companies that want to be a good corporate citizen. A guideline helping companies to find the right topics to report on, giving insight into the specific challenges and providing preferred definitions.

What should a good corporate citizen report on?

Obviously a company that takes CSR seriously will restrain itself from cherry-picking. If you want to be regarded reliable, you should report balanced both in content and in tone of voice. Or more exaggerated: companies that want to be trusted should say what went wrong.

A trending topic nowadays is tax avoidance practices:

  1. This week SOMO and Oxfam presented a report, showing that Africa is missing $ tax-income.
  2. US Senators made a fool of themselves in grilling Apple for its tax avoidance strategy like a teddy bear.
  3. The European Parliament is discussing to revise its policy on tax havens.

A good corporate citizen should balance its profit (hiring educated workforce, delivering goods on the infrastructure) and loss (paying tax) fairly.

Therefore I would expect G4 to launch an indicator for tax avoidance practices. However the draft version of G4 lacks that indicator. I would like to ask my audience, whether a good corporate citizen should report on tax avoidance practices.

[poll id=”3″]

This is the 2nd blog in the series for GRI2013

  1. CSR Reporting is on the verge of change
  2. A good corporate citizen reports on tax avoidance practices
  3. Future of application levels is unsure
  4. Communication should bridge the gap to the ordinary world
  5. Reporting outside your ownership boundary
  6. Weighing context versus materiality
  7. Turkish leaders in CSR Reporting

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