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.
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.