Survey of CSR Reports online.

For the first time we made a benchmark survey on presentation of yearly published CSR reports in Germany.

For the first time we made a benchmark survey on presentation of yearly published CSR reports in Germany. Out of 30 DAX companies 26 (87%) published a CSR report 2008. Analogue to our yearly survey on online annual reports we classified into 3 main categories: PDF, JPG-show or full HTML report:

  • PDF: The report is offered solely as PDF download
  • A JPG-show (picture gallery) is available: Every page of the printed report is copied 1:1 as picture (JPG)
  • The report is implemented as fully-fledged HTML website: The content is prepared for viewing on screen and accessible for further processing (copy/paste). Functions we are used to in the internet environment like content-related links are available.

Out of the 26 companies that published a CSR report, 9 (35%) offered just a PDF download. Deutsche Bank is the only company that converted their CSR into a JPG-show. BASF has integrated the CSR in their annual report, printed as well as online. Most companies 15 out of 26 (58%) have published their CSR as HTML-Website.

Compared to the presentation of annual reports online this result shows interesting differences:

  • Much higher portion that offers only PDF for download (Just 1 of the DAX30 companies does that for their annual report online presentation)
  • Significant less companies using non-web-compliant JPG-show

Overall it seems like CSR suffers less (marketing) pressure on false-labelling JPG-shows for being real online reports.

For the 15 fully-fledged HTML reports we have gone into more detail:

Our benchmark analysis is divided into 4 main categories: Visibility and Accessibility, Online Use, Offline Use and Interactivity and Tools.

Visibility and Accessibility concentrates on visibility of the report on the corporate website, HTML validation and URL.
-> How easy is it to find your online report and the information provided within?

Best practise in this category are Bayer, Deutsche Post and SAP. In times where web accessibility in online publications plays an even bigger role I would like to point out Metro Group. The CSR report provides a contrast functionality which helps people with colour blindness to easily access the report.

Online Use asks for the specific user experience online; what tools are in place to help the user to easily read and navigate the online report.
-> How usable is your report and is it helpful to stakeholders?

Adidas, Bayer, Deutsche Post, Deutsche Telekom and E.ON provide the best experience in online use. They spice up their online experience with Flash animation and provide ALT-Texts for users with accessibility problems. Further they provide additional links to related information be it within the report or external. Deutsche Telekom and K+S provide an online glossary which helps the user with explanations in an additional layer.

Offline Use shall clarify how the user can access or archive relevant information.
-> How usable is your report for later reference and further procession of data?

The highest score in this category was achieved by the Deutsche Post with 65%. Daimler, BMW Group and K+S come in second, 20% behind. Deutsche Post is the only company who offers XLS downloads of their tables. Bayer, E.ON and K+S offer a possibility to put together an individual report as PDF. What is evident in these reports is that companies provide additional PDF downloads on specific eco-social subjects, not just the CSR report itself.

Interactivity and Tools account for additional features to the online report including search functionalities.
-> Can a user interact and customise the report according to their needs?

In this category Daimler takes the lead with 60% followed by Deutsche Post with 53%. In this category there are some very interesting tools which needs pointing out.
Daimler offers a filter to put together a customised online report on specific subjects.
Adidas provides an individual link library which can be sent by email with a commentary.
Beiersdorf engages their user with an online quiz about sustainability.
E.ON provides a tag cloud with the most relevant subjects.

In comparison to our survey of annual reports online the average benchmark result of CSR reports is 8% below the annual reports in the same index. The quality of online CSR reports suffers the most in offline preparation. Users are given far less opportunities to collect, print or download information in an individual way.

Interactivity and usable tools are always a question of need, but flash, videos, a quiz or interactive charting tool can engage the user much more than a paragraph of text. The engaged users will spread your information further.

Especially for the deeper purpose of CSR reporting online seems the best medium to use, as this is the most sustainably way of communication!

DAX30 HTML CSR Reports 2008
RankCompanyResultVisibility/ AccessOnline UseOffline UseInteractiv/ Tools
1Deutsche Post70%83%74%65%53%
5K+S AG48%49%61%43%23%
8BMW Group42%46%57%45%5%
Deutsche Telekom40%22%75%12%13%
13Münchener Rück39%52%61%2%13%
14Metro Group37%59%50%20%5%
Deutsche BankJPG-Show
BASFintegrated into the annual report
CommerzbankNo HTML conversion of the report, just PDF
Deutsche BörseNo HTML conversion of the report, just PDF
Deutsche LufthansaNo HTML conversion of the report, just PDF
HenkelNo HTML conversion of the report, just PDF
MAN AGNo HTML conversion of the report, just PDF
MerckNo HTML conversion of the report, just PDF
RWENo HTML conversion of the report, just PDF
ThyssenKruppNo HTML conversion of the report, just PDF
VolkswagenNo HTML conversion of the report, just PDF
FreseniusNo CSR report published
Fresenius Medical CareNo CSR report published
Hannover RückNo CSR report published
SalzgitterNo CSR report published


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