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CSR-Reporting in Germany 2021 Ranking of sustainability reports of large companies and SMEs: results, trends, sector and special evaluations on climate neutrality and Corona

In the eleventh round of the sustainability report ranking, the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) and the business association future e.V. have once again analyzed and evaluated the sustainability reports of the 100 largest German companies and selected small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) using a comprehensive set of criteria.

Due to a revision of the evaluation criteria, the requirements for good sustainability reporting have increased significantly in this round. On average, the companies were unable to keep up with this. However, the standardization of sustainability reports remains at a high level: the reporting standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and external report audits are still widely used.

The publication addresses various trends in sustainability reporting as well as strengths and weaknesses: For example, while the topic of climate protection is reported on in detail by most companies, there are large gaps in the areas of supply chains and biodiversity, among others. Overall, the companies report more on targets than on action approaches or measures to achieve them. Indicators against which target achievement can be measured are also only partially presented.

The special evaluation on climate neutrality shows that without classification and substance, even ambitious-sounding targets remain toothless: The frequently mentioned goal of climate neutrality is hardly explained - thus it remains unclear which emissions are included in the analysis and what role the compensation of greenhouse gas emissions plays. The special evaluation on Corona also highlights the need for companies to learn lessons from the pandemic in order to become more resilient in the face of multiple crises - especially with regard to supply chains.