How sustainable are DAX 30 companies?

Sustainability reports would be the perfect opportunity to treat the online media as the leading media.

Sustainable development seems to be one major key success factor for companies in the (near) future. This is the reason, why sustainability gets more and more attention from all kind of stakeholders, especially customers and investors.

Reasons enough for us to analyze the sustainability reporting within the german DAX 30 index. 27 out of 30 companies do offer a sustainability report – in HTML or as a PDF – or have at least an informative sustainability section on their corporate website. That means that only three companies do not report about their sustainability activities in a proper manner. Fresenius and Fresenius Medical Care do not present any figures or strategies on their websites and Infineon just has a small CSR-section available only in English.

Best practice

We were very pleased to see a lot of sophisticated reports, but Beiersdorf impressed us most. They present a web-only version, not offering a printed report, but a PDF including all HTML pages. This is very eco-efficiency and saves a lot of resources as the report is produced for web-purposes only. All other companies, publishing sustainability reports periodically, are still providing a print version.

In our opinion, sustainability reports would be the perfect opportunity to treat the online media as the leading media. Including (interactive) features, such as GRI tables, world maps, search functions, etc. online reports are adding value and they are even environmentally friendly. This might be no easy step for sure, but it would set an example to do something for your stakeholders and for nature in one go.

In addition I think it is not reasonable, why companies present their financial data completely differently from their sustainability acitivities, but I will probably pick up this question in a separate blog entry.

I am very interested in hearing your thoughts to this topic. Do you think that a print-report is compatible with the sustainability thoughts? Do you know some other best-practice examples?

PS: If you are interested in further CSR reports in UK, Europe or USA, please visit our colleagues from The Group, who published their online reports directory a few weeks ago.

Comments.

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  1. Heyya,

    of course you are right in saying that online reports can add value in comparison with print and that they are ecologically correct. But this is still quite a superficial verdict, as for example the Beiersdorf report lacks a lot of information that is essential in sustainability reporting: no goal vs. level of achievment documentation, not a lot of substantial information about sustainability management at the company, and especially no KPIs resp. consolidated figures. Just going online doesn’t make for a good sustainability report.

  2. Thanks Beate!
    I totally agree on what you say: going online is not the end of the story what is necessary for good Sustainability Reporting. But on the other hand its also a good and thoughtful starting point? As always its the small things that really change peoples thinking. For me looking it sometimes looks weird when I see how big and colorful CSR reports are layed just to find their way into stakeholders dust bins. Thats not my view of sustainable communication.

    In our post we where looking into how the online media is used for displaying content. For us there is a natural fit driving people to use online reports instead of printing paper. We didn’t digg into qualtity of content or companies CSR strategy. I thinkg this could be a great opportunity for you to do such a research and share your with us. If you like we are more than happy to offer our blog plattform as a forum for this!

    Best wishes from Vienna,
    Thomas

  3. Thanks Beate!
    I totally agree on what you say: going online is not the end of the story what is necessary for good Sustainability Reporting. But on the other hand its also a good and thoughtful starting point? As always its the small things that really change peoples thinking. For me looking it sometimes looks weird when I see how big and colorful CSR reports are layed just to find their way into stakeholders dust bins. Thats not my view of sustainable communication.

    In our post we where looking into how the online media is used for displaying content. For us there is a natural fit driving people to use online reports instead of printing paper. We didn’t digg into qualtity of content or companies CSR strategy. I thinkg this could be a great opportunity for you to do such a research and share your with us. If you like we are more than happy to offer our blog plattform as a forum for this!

    Best wishes from Vienna,
    Thomas