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Corporate sustainability reporting in the apparel industry: An analysis of indicators disclosed

Anika Kozlowski (Department of Environmental Applied Science and Management, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)
Cory Searcy (Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)
Michal Bardecki (Department of Environmental Applied Science and Management, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 2 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the reported indicators in corporate sustainability reports, other documents and the web sites of 14 apparel brands belonging to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC).

Design/methodology/approach

A content analysis of the corporate sustainability reports, other documents and web sites of the 14 SAC apparel brands was conducted to identify indicators related to sustainability. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected on all reported sustainability initiatives, actions, and indicators. A normative business model was developed for the categorization of the indicators and a cross-case analysis of the apparel brand’s sustainability reporting was conducted.

Findings

In total, 87 reported corporate sustainability indicators were identified. The study finds that there is a lack of consistency among them. The majority of the indicators dealt with performance in supply-chain sustainability while the least frequently reported indicators addressed business innovation and consumer engagement.

Originality/value

This paper provides one of the first in-depth reviews of the indicators reported by apparel brands within their web sites and other forms of corporate sustainability reporting.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2014 PMA Conference in Aarhus, Denmark. The authors would like to thank the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for supporting this research.

Citation

Kozlowski, A., Searcy, C. and Bardecki, M. (2015), "Corporate sustainability reporting in the apparel industry: An analysis of indicators disclosed", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 64 No. 3, pp. 377-397. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPPM-10-2014-0152

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited