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Sustainability reporting in Germany. Results and trends in the 2007 ranking

The ranking of sustainability reports conducted by the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) and future e.V. (“assuming responsibility”) evaluates the content and communicative quality of the society-related reporting of Germany’s 150 largest companies. Having pioneered the ranking of environmental reports in 1994, the IÖW and future this year launched the sixth round. Since “conversion” to the broad spectrum of sustainability-related specifications in 2005, report evaluation is now based on a demanding set of 48 social, ecological, economic and communicative criteria.

The 150 companies, included in the ranking as the largest German companies on the basis of statistics provided by the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in April 2007, come from 15 different sectors. 39 of these companies currently do not report at all on their social responsibility, neither in their business report nor on the Internet. The large majority of these so-called “non-reporters” are in the insurance, electrotechnical manufacturing and trade sectors. 24 companies are subsidiaries and can refer to a report by the foreign parent company, whilst approx. 30 report briefly in their business reports or on the Internet, in location-related or themed brochures.

This leaves 58 of Germany’s 150 largest companies which publish their own independent environmental, sustainability, CSR or comparable report. Most reports come from the chemical and pharmaceutical sector as well as from banks.

These 58 reports were evaluated in the 2007 ranking by the IÖW/future.