Handbook of Corporate Sustainability
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Handbook of Corporate Sustainability

Frameworks, Strategies and Tools

Edited by M. A. Quaddus and M. A.B. Siddique

Achieving corporate sustainability (CS) is one of the most difficult challenges facing organizations in the twenty-first century. This comprehensive Handbook examines the current status and future direction of sustainability frameworks and applications in the corporate environment.
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Chapter 12: Corporate Sustainability Reporting: How to Benefit from ICT for Communicating à la Carte

Ralf Isenmann


Ralf Isenmann 1. INTRODUCTION Corporate sustainability reporting has its roots both in environmental and in non-financial reporting (IISD et al., 1992; DTTI et al., 1993; UNEP and SustainAbility, 1994). It follows a development path towards a concept of balanced reporting, usually communicating the three pillars of environmental, social, and economic performance and their mutual interrelations, in business terms often called the triple bottom line approach (Elkington, 1997). Sometimes, this approach is put in popular terms like ‘making values count’ (ACCA, 1998), or ‘linking values with value’ (KPMG, 2000), or described as ‘creating value and optimising prosperity according to the Triple P bottom line’1 (SER, 2001). The latter is understood as combining shareholder value, eco-efficiency, and corporate citizenship, or being part of corporate social responsibility (CSR Europe, 2000). In the ten years since sustainability reporting first became a topic of broader interest in academia, business, and government, it has rapidly grown to a field of research with increasing relevance for companies (Kolk, 2004) and capital markets (Flatz, 2003), even in the eyes of investors (Australian Government, 2003). At present, sustainability reporting seems to become part of companies’ daily affairs, even entering (to a certain extent) the business mainstream. Hence, for a growing number, not just for some pioneering companies, the question is now how to report on sustainability issues, and no longer whether to report at all (Marshall and Brown, 2003). Regardless of nationality or other differences in country results, this is true not only for leading edge companies in corporate...

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