Balance: Reporting the Good with the Bad

Why don’t organizations report more information about their challenges?

Because the media tends to focus on negative information about organizations, managers sometimes feel that their sustainability reports provide them with an opportunity to set the record straight. Therefore, the tendency is to report only good news in their reports. However, this choice would surely lead to the perception of greenwashing. Why?

  • The report is unbalanced and incomplete, and
  • The bad news could be material.

Consequently, the report should have both negative and positive aspects, and the negative aspects should not be hidden in the report or difficult to find. Balancing favorable with unfavorable performance has been found to be one of the characteristics most important for credibility in a report. After all, just as we are all human and make mistakes, so do organizations. Therefore, it is important that an organization admit its failings in a predominant manner.