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Sustainability Reporting

06/04/2011 Sustainability Reporting

When companies report on their corporate social responsibility (CSR), it encourages more companies to engage in these practices. The Commission's study on the state of play in sustainability reporting in the EU, illustrates how companies deal with CSR reporting in practice.

The study looks at:

  • how companies report and the challenges in reporting
  • the extent to which companies' reporting practices match readers' needs
  • what public policy instruments are available to stimulate reporting.

Companies report because it enhances their reputation, although it can increase their costs. The challenge lies in selecting what to report on, how sensitive different data are, how to organise content, and how to correctly pitch quality. 

The research reveals that readers of CSR reporting look for a genuine attempt by companies to honestly and realistically portray their CSR activities, in a way that helps readers assess the sustainability of the company's activities.  

The study finds that readers needs are best met when:

  • reporting is regulated
  • CSR reporting is integrated with financial reporting
  • stakeholders are more involved in reporting.

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