Since 2004 the Ministry of Economic Affairs yearly performs the Transparency Benchmark.
In the years 2004 (baseline) and 2005 both companies and Corporate Social Organizations were evaluated. From 2006 the Transparency Benchmark evaluates only enterprises, this to avoid overlap with the ‘The Transparency Price: For best charitable report’.
The Transparency Benchmark was originally only accessible for enterprises selected based on their size by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. To meet the needs that arose by growing reputation of the benchmark of companies to compare their CSR performances with others, in 2008 was decided to also open the benchmark for companies that wish to participate on a voluntary basis. In 2008 seven companies made use of this possibility.
In 2007, the criteria were revised to better reflect developments in the area of corporate social reporting. The revision was done in consultation with both participating companies as a few corporate social organizations. The major changes compared to 2006 relate to restructuring and reformulating of the criteria. Furthermore, there is more emphasis on core activities of companies and how CSR plays a role. Also chain responsibility has recieved more weight in the criteria of 2007 and is included as a separate chapter in the criteria. With regard to verification, the criteria are adapted so that they do more justice to the various forms and degrees of independent verification. Finally the criteria are more in line with the international reference of reporting (Global Reporting Initiative).
In 2008 and 2009 the criteria remained unchanged. However, there have been important innovations made. So, recourse was made of an interactive online e-tool to professionalize the adversarial with the participating companies. In addition, for the first time European and international industry comparisons have been introduced. Furthermore, all participants received an individual benchmark report, in which their scores are compared to a peer group. An important change which still holds is the possibility of a voluntary participation.
In 2014, the criteria of the Transparency Benchmark have been adapted to international developments such as changes in the guidelines of GRI (G4: 4th generation), IIRC and OECD-guidelines for multinational enterprises and the EU legislative proposal and focus on materiality, valuecreation and impact. The new criteria encourage integrated reporting (integrating financial and non-financial information about people, planet and profit).