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Making the Case for Sustainability in the Annual Report

The vast majority of transnational companies do not report on their sustainability/corporate social responsibility efforts. Sure, some are inactive and really have nothing to talk about – and they should want to “walk the walk” before they “talk the talk.” 

But there are a lot of others who are active and moving forward, and still not communicative. How and when will they ever get over their “greenblushing”

Here’s a suggestion: For public companies, there are already a format and schedule in place just waiting to be tapped for sustainability/CSR reporting. It’s the annual report. 

I hope you will read “All Together Now: Why sustainability reporting and the annual report should be combined,” an article from the March/April issue of Corporate Responsibility Magazine. I am pleased to have the opportunity to co-author this article with Don McGrath of Eaton Corporation, which is a pioneer in using the annual report to communicate its sustainability efforts. This article has just been added to our website for you to download

In a nutshell, there are four big reasons for integrating sustainability/CSR reporting into the annual report:

  • Transparency – just like financial results, sustainability is becoming an important measure of corporate performance
  • Socially responsibility investing – $3.07 trillion and counting
  • Business strategy – sustainability, energy efficiency and serving the energy industry are part of the growth story for many companies
  • Efficiency and cost effectiveness – one book, one project is better than two

It works for Eaton and it will work for many other companies that are looking for a way to report on their sustainability/CSR efforts. We look forward to your comments.

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