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Competing for Transparency The Ranking of Sustainability Reports for Small and Medium Enterprises

This paper summarises the results of the Ranking of Sustainability Reports for small and medium enterprises in 2015. First, a description of the ranking’s methodology is provided, with due regard to the selection process and the assessment criteria. The authors trace recent developments in the field of sustainability reporting, such as the improvements in both quantity and quality and the increasing standardisation of the reporting process among small and medium enterprises. Moreover, the recurrent assessment of reports reveals that sustainability reports have become an established tool to report on stakeholder-related issues. In addition, the authors shortly present the companies that made the top three in 2015, namely Lebensbaum, Vaude and Rinn Beton- und Naturstein.

The assessment of CSR reports intends to promote competition between reporters, hence improving overall reporting quality, and to enhance sustainability efforts in the private sector. The evaluation criteria and the assessment, which is conducted recurrently and independently, provide a guiding framework for companies and the impetus for sustainability-related learning processes. In the authors’ opinion, this represents a solid foundation to enable and foster a constructive dialogue about transparency and sustainable business strategies.