Avoid the internet’s seven deadly sins when publishing corporate environmental reports
The growing demand for environmental and social impact information and news on the internet is creating more problems than solutions for web-wise corporations, a new report suggests.
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Next Step Consulting Ltd, communications, policy and strategy specialists, have published a guide for organisations wanting to deliver the environmental, social and economic impacts of their activities to the world through the web.
The report, Environmental, Social and Sustainability Reporting on
the World Wide Web: A Guide to Best Practise, highlights how the internet should be used for sustainability reporting, gives practical examples and reveals the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ of web-based reporting. The biggest no-nos for internet reports are: using unwieldy files that can take over an
hour to download; hiding information deep within the web site; failing to
promote site; and discouraging feedback and discussion. However the most
common mistake is assuming that your entire audience can read the company’s electronic news online when failing to remember that only 2% of the world’s population has access to the internet.
“An increasing number of organisations are reporting their environmental and social impact information on the World Wide Web,” said ACCA’s Environmental and Social Manager Rachel Jackson. “To reflect this development ACCA, which manages the national awards for sustainability reporting, has published criteria to judge web-based entrants. These include the need for web reports to be clear, accessible and tailored to meet the needs of different stakeholder groups. As well as publishing the new criteria, the guide is designed to show best practice and help organizations avoid the pitfalls of web-based reporting.”
Paul Scott, Director of the UK-based Next Step Consulting, also has a patriotic reason for the report: “Our research shows that while companies are turning to the web to report on their environmental, social and sustainability performance, report users are becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of clear and accessible information. UK Companies are leading the world in both the quantity and quality of these reports – the new Guide will help maintain this momentum.”
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