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Sustainability Reporting in Germany: Summary of the Results and Trends of the 2005 Ranking

The ranking of sustainability reports is a follow up of former rankings of environmental reports carried out in 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2000. Against the background of the ongoing discussion on sustainability management and CSR as well as considering the increasing number of sustainability reports the existing criteria of the past ranking of environmental reports were extended by social and economic criteria.
The 2005 ranking criteria reflect activities of many organisations as well as our own research1.
In particular the following activities and documents have been considered:

  • GRI Reporting Guidelines (2002)
  • World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Sustainability Performance Indicators
  • Reporting Guidelines of the European Association of the Chemical Industry (CEFIC)
  • SA 8000 Standard (and some other activities on social aspects in the supply chain)
  • AA 1000 Standards
  • The Global Reporters Survey of UNEP and SustainAbility

Within the process of developing the evaluation criteria stakeholder representatives were invited to critically review our set of criteria. Comments of industry representatives as well as industry associations and the German Council for Sustainable Development were included in the set of criteria.
The results of the ranking have been published in the German business magazine CAPITAL in February 2005. Background information as well as the detailed ranking criteria are made available to the public on our project website <link http: _blank external-link-new-window external link in new> By doing
so we strive for transparency in order to promote the quality of future sustainability reports and to contribute to the discussion on sustainability reporting and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). We also apply the same demand for transparency on ranking processes which we demand from the companies.
Due to its relevance for both the quality of reporting and the discussion on sustainability in business Volker Hauff, chairman of the German Council for Sustainable Development, gave auspices to the ranking 2005. In the 1980ies Volker Hauff became member of the UN-World Commission On Environment And Development (Brundtland Commission).