Coro’s Blog: On Purpose
Wikirate: Online tool accelerates stakeholder accountability and transparency
Published on January 30, 2015
A guest post by Vishal Kapadia of Wikirate.
Readers may be interested in the launch of Wikirate.org, a new online resource with the ambitious vision of becoming a Wikipedia for corporate social responsibility. Vishal Kapadia, Executive Director of Wikirate describes this resource and its value in this guest post.
Corporate social responsibility has been a heavily debated topic for many years, and will continue to be in the foreseeable future. This is due not only to the ever-increasing demand for sustainable management strategies from ethical consumers and the push for transparency within larger corporations from stakeholders, advocacy groups and governments alike, but also because of the range of topics covered under the umbrella-term of “corporate social responsibility”.
To provide clear and unbiased information about what a company is doing ethically, socially and environmentally, Wikirate – a non-profit funded by the European Commission – has developed an online platform where the many topics covered under the term corporate social responsibility (CSR) are addressed, aggregated and analyzed. Wikirate’s mission is to bring together all information about companies’ behaviour in one place – like a Wikipedia for CSR – and to go even further to show a company’s relationship with ethical, social and environmental issues in a neutral and independent way.
How does it work?
As mentioned in the video, Wikirate.org is fundamentally a ‘wiki’ concept with the key difference being that instead of articles referencing footnotes, they reference claims that are vetted and voted on by the community. Claims are short sentences that establish a fact about a company. An example of this is “BP was responsible for an oil spill off the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.” This statement can then be supported by a source, say from an article in the New York Times. This claim is then visible when clicking on “BP + Pollutions and Toxics” along with other claims that have been made. From this and other claims, an article can be generated summarizing the key issues, providing a clear account on what a company’s record is – positive or negative.
In addition to being a wiki site, Wikirate will allow the community to rate companies, based on the most important claims (as voted by the community) about how companies are performing in terms of their critical key performance indicators (KPIs). Already it is possible to directly compare the claims about a company on a particular topic, but soon users will be able to visualize claims as timelines, to see how a company has performed over time. The key takeaway here is that claims are reusable pieces of information helping to generate articles, timelines, mapping of events and even clear comparisons between companies and industries.
Should I get involved?
Yes! At first glance these contributions may seem small, but the power of Wikirate is that it creates a system where small contributions can add up to unprecedented levels of corporate transparency and accountability.
Check out wikirate.org to find out how to contribute to Wikirate, and how to differentiate between the possible actions you can take as a user.
Or, take a look at our Open Electronics Campaign designed to discover what kind of impact electronic companies have to make the industry more transparent. The goal of this campaign is to uncover and analyze sustainability issues and opportunities in the electronics industry.
Feel free to contact us anytime with suggestions for the site, reporting bugs, or with your questions at email@example.com