FRIDAY 15 MAR 2013 2:51 PM


In 2012, there was a credibility gap between rhetoric and action, or rather, inaction, in corporate sustainability reporting. This year, however businesses are achieving more in their sustainability reporting, according to Radley Yeldar’s fourth-annual ‘How does it stack up?’ report, by explaining how it relates to corporate strategy.

Sustainability reporting has become an important objective for stakeholders, particularly in large, FTSE-listed companies. However, sustainability reporting, while having made improvements, has yet to fully integrate sustainability with communications and stakeholder relations.

The report, which examines 35 companies in the FTSE Eurotop 100 index, ranked Anglo American as the best reporting company, followed by Centrica and HSBC. Key to effective sustainability reporting, Radley Yeldar posits, is having a clear business objective for doing so. Sustainability for the sake of sustainability helps neither stakeholders nor strategies.

“Sustainability reporting has reached a crossroads – both as a piece of communication and a management tool,” head of sustainability at Radley Yeldar, Ben Richards, says. “This year, our research showed sustainability reporting to be a mixed bag – with some positive developments and more concerning findings.”

Companies that report successfully are able to integrate sustainability into communications throughout the business, remain transparent and address the appropriate internal audiences.

Vodafone, for example, explicitly explains how the company’s sustainability efforts relate to each stakeholder group. Many reporters, however, fail to communicate how their sustainability strategies are relevant to their company, thereby neglecting an opportunity to engage stakeholders in a dialogue on sustainability.