What Happens in Practice?

Companies ensure balance in its reports in a number of different ways.

Shell Canada

Shell Canada is an energy company headquartered in Canada and a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell. Shell Canada produced its own sustainability report before its parent company did. On the first page of Shell Canada’s Sustainable Development Report, the letter from the president begins with the following statement:

“Our first priority is the safety of our operations, our staff and contractors, our neighbors, and anyone who visits our facilities. Our safety target is zero harm to people. So it is with great sadness that I report a tragic accident that led to the death of a contractor at one of our well sites.”


Nexen, another energy company, balances positive and negative information in the Highlights in the front pages of its report. On page 1 of its Proven Values report, it provides a section titled Sustainability Highlights, which discusses positive aspects of the company’s performance. On the same page, it has a section titled Disappointments, which discusses negative aspects of the company’s performance. For example, one disclosure reads as follows:

“Total number of recordable environmental incidents increased by 39%….”

Click here to see a complete Highlights and Disappointments section in one of Nexen’s reports.