Table of Contents

Financial Report Sustainability Report

The Table of Contents provides a list of major topics in the report, along with page numbers.  The major sections found in a financial report are the Operations Section and the Financial Section (financial statements and notes).  Each of these major sections have many sub-parts.

The Table of Contents fulfills the same purpose for a sustainability report. However, the information on the contents of the report often contains three major sections:  Environmental, Social, and Economic.

What Happens in Practice?

Table of Contents can be very traditional or very creative. However, some place in the table will be information on economic, environment, and social performance. Teck, a mining company based in Canada, has a very traditional list of topics in its report. Click here to view. (Teck, 2009)

Baxter, a medical products and service company headquartered in the US, has a very non-traditional guide to the on-line version of its report. Click here to view. (Baxter, 2009)

Fast Facts

How many companies issue sustainability reports?

  • 79 percent of the largest 250 companies globally;
  • 88 percent of Japanese companies in the largest 250 global companies; and
  • 84 percent of UK companies in the largest 250 global companies.

– Source: KPMG International Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2008

What Stakeholders Say…about Reporting

“Reporting gives me pretty good snapshot what the company has done, is doing, and what it intends to do. So past, present and future.”

“Well, I think there are probably several motivations. Companies are being asked for information from their stakeholders. So it is part of their due diligence of being transparent. It also works as a communication mechanism for the company and informs their employees as to what the company is doing, what it is all about.”

– Quotes from Stakeholders

Takeaway

Many stakeholders do not read sustainability reports from cover to cover. Instead, they are interested in the organization’s performance on selected aspects. Use the Table of Contents to find a specific topic of interest.