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D4: Vehicles for Disclosure

Companies will release sustainability information through a range of disclosure vehicles, including stand-alone reports, annual reports, financial filings, websites and social media.
Roadmap in Action arrow 3 (transparent)

Integrated Reporting

A small but growing number of global companies, including Novo Nordisk and Puma, have begun using their Sustainability Reports to make the business case for their environmental investments and efforts. These attempts to both quantify and integrate sustainability investments with business impacts are especially important given the growth of integrated reporting.  Read more...

Check out Roadmap in Action for more examples of how companies are implementing the Ceres Roadmap.

The incredible uptake of social media and social networking over the past several years has forced companies to re-evaluate what it means to be “transparent” in a world of radical transparency. A shift to web-based reporting has also brought with it new technologies focused on engaging the user in innovative ways and creating a customized “report experience.” Companies should disclose sustainability performance data through a range of channels to ensure they are reaching a wide variety of key stakeholders.  What may be an effective communication strategy for one stakeholder group may be poorly suited for another. For example, the inclusion of sustainability information within financial filings is a key mechanism for reaching investors, while a stand-alone report may be more accessible to community stakeholders.


In The Road to 2020: Corporate Progress on The Ceres Roadmap For Sustainability, we evaluated 600 of the largest U.S. companies on their progress towards meeting the expectations laid forth in The Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability.  Using data compiled and analyzed by Sustainalytics, for this expectation companies were evaluated on the types of disclosure vehicles used, including sustainability reports, annual reports, financial filings, mainstream investor communications and issue-focused surveys.

Tier description - 3Of the 600 companies, 30 percent of companies (177) are included in Tiers 1 and 2, demonstrating that there is room for improvement by companies across sectors.

Sustainability reporting is becoming the norm, with 49 percent of companies (293) evaluated producing stand-alone reports. With online reporting on the rise, companies are also communicating performance trends to stakeholders through interactive web platforms. For example, Hewlett-Packard’s interactive data dashboard presents up to five years of trend data for energy, GHG emissions, waste, water and product reuse and recycling, and also supports interactive links driving stakeholders to relevant graphs and targets.

Many companies are also distributing sustainability information through Facebook, Twitter and company blogs. American Electric Power, for example, compiles the social media “chatter” received about the company and distributes it to its managers on a daily basis, providing stakeholder concerns and opinions in real-time. AMD's Corporate Responsibility blog features authors from across the company on topics of interest, including what sustainability leadership means to AMD executives or how the company is engaging employees to drive product innovation. The blog also looks to educate employees on key sustainability challenges for the company and its sector, such as the sourcing of conflict minerals –tin, tantalum and tungsten—from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The assessment also found that companies are taking advantage of surveys issued by organizations such as the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP); yet the limited audience these databases serve should be noted. Of the companies evaluated within this report, 513 were approached by CDP. Of those companies, approximately 70 percent (359 companies) provided some response to the survey’s request for climate emissions data versus only 49 percent (293 companies) publishing full sustainability reports.

Interactive Data

Click on a performance tier to view more information.

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[23] Companies in Mediocre in 2012