Sustainability reports (SRs) could be viewed as organisational measurements of sustainability performance. The purpose of this paper is to discuss how well SRs are measuring and communicating sustainability and how reporting could be assessed and improved by presenting a maturity grid based on quality management principles.
Quality management students have assessed publicly available SRs. A total of 55 student assessments have been analysed by the author and used to indicate how understandable reports are. Quality management principles and input from the student assessments have been used to propose a maturity grid for sustainability reporting quality.
The indication is that SRs are not easy to interpret. The word sustainability aspect used should be replaced with impact on vital stakeholder needs. Guidelines for analysing reports could be improved by using process focus to clearly describe scope of reporting as the entire value chain.
Results are limited to assessing how sustainability is measured. How sustainable the organisations are is not assessed. The research is ongoing, and the proposed matrix is preliminary needing validation and further modification.
The proposed maturity grid for sustainability reporting forms a good basis for further development of SRs and the critical review of them.
Results indicate a need to report sustainability in the entire value chain and to focus more on vital stakeholder needs such as poverty and climate change.
The paper discusses a field of synergies between quality and sustainability management, which is important but still sparingly researched.
Isaksson, R. (2019), "A proposed preliminary maturity grid for assessing sustainability reporting based on quality management principles", The TQM Journal, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 451-466. https://doi.org/10.1108/TQM-12-2017-0167Download as .RIS
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