Sustainability reports are published by companies under a variety of names, including “environment report,” “environmental and social report,” and “CSR report.” The majority of these reports take into consideration a wide range of stakeholders and include a plethora of diverse information. These reports are generally compiled in accordance with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) regulations, and therefore the information contained within them is highly comprehensive. However, this abundance of information can make it difficult even for CSR specialists and research institutions to extract the desired information from these reports.
It is said that the most basic form of sustainability report is developed through the extensive compilation of CSR-related information pertaining to a wide range of stakeholders. If this was true, the next level of more-advanced reports should be developed by gaining an understanding of information that specific groups of stakeholders need and carefully selecting what information should be communicated.
Specifically, shareholders and other investors analyze the future growth potential of a company and the sustainability of its growth going forward with particular scrutiny. For this reason, the effectiveness of the method through which a company discloses non-financial information, such as ESG (environmental, social, and governance) issues, which have a large impact on management strategies and future revenues, can have a great influence on how these investors evaluate a company.
Clearly expressing a company’s stance and its strategies for achieving sustainability has been an increasingly important part of the sustainability report planning process. This must be done by considering the company’s relationship with shareholders and other investors; global society and local communities; its customers, suppliers, and employees; and, of course, the earth itself. The company should then decide how it will interact with each of these entities in order to achieve sustainable growth.