A concise read with notable strengths – and weaknesses
Microsoft is taking a new, paired down approach to Citizenship reporting. Its 2014 report is a no-frills PDF that prioritises simplicity and web links over style or a robust narrative. It’s no surprise that Microsoft’s responsibility reporting, like its business, has shifted towards the web, yet readers may be surprised by how far Microsoft has stripped-back the PDF version.
The document has no case studies or photographs to provide context or colour for readers. Charts and infographics are used sparsely and are as plain as an Excel pie chart. The strength of this approach is that it covers a lot of ground quickly. Rather than congesting pages with graphics and storytelling, it utilises external links to supplement focused disclosures. The downside is that the PDF report is often uninspiring.
The document can be downloaded at the Citizenship Reporting page, where readers are also offered performance highlights and a link to the GRI G4 Index. Case studies, absent from the PDF, can be found within the Corporate Citizenship site.
Missing materiality and goals
An important element missing from the report is an assessment of materiality. Microsoft devotes significant space to its stakeholder engagement efforts, but does not connect this back to the...