Frameworks, Strategies and Tools
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Edited by M. A. Quaddus and M. A.B. Siddique
Chapter 13: Internet-supported Sustainability Reporting – Expectations and Reality: Empirical Findings from the German DAX30
Christian Herzig and Jasmin Godemann 1. INTRODUCTION Financial reporting, which focuses on purely monetary precepts and primarily looks at the past, has been gradually expanded over recent decades, as a result of the increasing significance of intangible assets (such as market positioning or human capital, for example) as well as ecological and social value drivers (Herzig and Schaltegger, 2006). Large companies in particular have set up their company reporting in such a way as to take account of the information needs of relevant stakeholders inside and outside the company, in terms of the company’s social and ecological performance, as well as to provide a more complete picture, which focuses on the future (Kolk, 2004; KPMG, 2005). At the present time, the most integrated format for company reporting is sustainability reporting. With this type of reporting, companies place a balanced focus on the backwards and forwards-looking economic dimensions of their activities (economic, ecological and social aspects) and their interaction, explaining synergies and conflicts of interests between the different dimensions (GRI, 2006; Herzig and Schaltegger, 2006; BMU, 2007). Since 2005, there has been a constant spread of sustainability reports in Germany (Quick and Knocinski, 2006; Gebauer et al., 2007; BMU, 2007) and worldwide (KPMG, 2005; Context, 2006; SustainAbility et al., 2006). However, limitations of printed reports encourage companies to fall back on the more expansive possibilities provided by the Internet. A statement of accounts on the economic, ecological and social aspects of business activity, produced on an Internet platform, facilitates a broader...
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