CSR Reporting Trends in Emerging Markets: Turkey

Data accuracy in sustainability reports
November 6, 2013
Turkey is located in both Europe and Asia and is a geographical as well as a political bridge between the West and the Middle East. The only secular Muslim country, recent economy growth has made it the 17th largest economy by GDP worldwide1 with a population approaching 80 million.

Accompanying the rapid economic growth in the last decade across various sectors, the Turkish Corporate Governance Association has made a point of emphasizing the importance of ethical behavior, good corporate governance, and the value of going beyond financial reporting. That said, CSR reporting is voluntary in Turkey and is not mandated by any governmental agency. Against this backdrop, large, multinational companies have risen as leaders of CSR reporting by setting the example for other businesses.

Coca-Cola Içecek (CCI) was the first company to publish a CSR report in Turkey in accordance with the GRI framework in 2007.2 The report received a C level, but a few years later, in 2012, CCI published its 2011 CSR Report and reached an A+. CCI understands that as a beverage producer in one of the driest regions in the world, it needs to highlight its commitment to water management and its level of engagement with stakeholders on topics such as environment, community, as well as workplace.

Atilla Yerlikaya, Corporate Affairs Director at CCI, spoke about CCI's journey in CSR reporting during the regional session at the 2012 GRI Conference. Yerlikaya explained how he sees G4 as a new opportunity rather than a challenge for his company.

Akçansa is another industry leader for CSR reporting in Turkey. General Manager Hakan Gürdal stated during the same session that one of Akçansa's goals was to share its expertise in CSR reporting with other companies, including competitors.3 Interestingly, several industry leaders, including CCI and Akçansa, have come to the realization that their leadership will influence smaller companies and help them understand the importance of CSR reporting and how it will benefit both the business community and Turkish society as a whole.

That being said, the examples above also serve to illustrate the gap between large and small Turkish firms when it comes to CSR reporting. This gap can be better understood when one considers the various company structures that exist in Turkey:
  1. Small local companies frequently do not have codified policies or business structures, and not surprisingly, CSR reporting is rare among these companies

  2. Large local companies, such as Akçansa or Turkish holding companies that have been part of the economy for decades, understand the importance of CSR for reputation management

  3. Multinational companies with branches in Turkey, such as Coca-Cola, Unilever, and Vodafone, have published CSR reports as they seek to build trust within the country and engage with their local stakeholders

The GRI Sustainability Disclosure Database indicates that 36 Turkish companies submitted CSR reports in 2012.4 The larger companies continue to lead in Turkey with the hope that smaller firms will take note and begin to understand the importance of CSR reporting as they look to develop their businesses both domestically and abroad, especially in Europe.

Wdesk can empower companies in Turkey by enabling their CSR reporting teams to more effectively collect and manage data, collaborate with internal and external teams, and streamline the review process. This allows teams to focus on what is meaningful to the company and its stakeholders. To learn more about how Wdesk can help you streamline your CSR reporting process, visit the CSR Reporting Solution page, or schedule a demo to see it in action.

1 "Country Comparison: GDP (Purchasing Power Parity).” (2012). The Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook. Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/20...
2 “Corporate Social Responsibility: Our CSR Report.” (2011). Coca-Cola İçecek. Retrieved from http://www.cci.com.tr/en/sustainability/our-csr-report/
3 Kuiper, Menno. (2013). "Turkish leaders in CSR Reporting.” (2013). MVOplossingen. Retrieved from http://www.mvoplossingen.nl/turkish-leaders-in-csr-reporting/
4 "Sustainability Disclosure Database.” (2013). Global Reporting Initiative. Retrieved from http://database.globalreporting.org/search (filtered by Country: Turkey, Publication Year: 2012).
Francis Quinn

About the author

Francis Quinn is the Director of Corporate Sustainability Technologies for Workiva. Before joining Workiva, he directed sustainable development for L’Oréal in Paris.