A growing number of corporations are releasing stand-alone sustainability reports. To provide insight into corporate sustainability performance, many reports contain sets of performance indicators. However, questions remain about what should be reported and the indicators disclosed vary widely. This report presents an analysis of the indicators disclosed in 94 Canadian corporate sustainability reports.
Sustainability policies, plans, programs, and projects have been initiated in corporations around the world. Given the broad nature of sustainability, the breadth and depth of these initiatives varies widely. For example, initiatives as diverse as measuring a corporation’s carbon footprint, fostering diversity in the workplace, and supporting community development could all be classified under the umbrella of sustainability. These initiatives are of interest to a variety of internal and external stakeholders. Depending on the issue, these stakeholders may include employees, investors, customers, suppliers, regulators, nongovernmental organizations, and local communities, to name a few.
One important way corporations share information about their sustainability initiatives is through the release of publicly available reports. Although the titles of these reports differ, they typically include words such as “sustainability,” “responsibility,” “accountability,” or “citizenship,” and they focus on addressing the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of corporate performance through a review of both qualitative and quantitative information. (For the remainder of this issue, the term “sustainability report” is used.)