Corporate Sustainability Reporting: A Case for the Internet

Corporate Sustainability Reporting: A Case for the Internet

Ralf Isenmann (University of Kaiserslautern, Germany)
Copyright: © 2005 |Pages: 49
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-342-5.ch012
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Corporate environmental reporting using the Internet – especially the WWW – is a rapidly emerging and increasingly popular method. Today, online environmental reporting has become part of business practices and daily affairs for a number of companies, and thus many of the environmental communication vehicles provided for companies’ target groups and other stakeholders (users) are available on the WWW: reports, brochures, leaflets, newsletters, press releases, slides, presentations, audio sequences, video clips and so forth are accessible via download and/or online, prepared for being pulled or automatically disseminated via e-mail or other current push technologies. Despite the considerable progress companies have made in recent years, however, it is not yet clear just how environmental reporting will advance to the next stage. In particular, the role of the Internet as an emerging computer-based medium and its unique capabilities in form and content need to be understood better. This chapter describes how to develop from early environmental reporting stages towards the more advanced sustainability reporting, while exploiting the Internet’s specific capabilities properly. This path is illustrated as a progression in environmental reporting along three dimensions: integration of financial and social issues into environmental reporting, provision of reporting instruments on various media and fine tuning communication vehicles according to users’ needs and preferences. These trends in terms of a more balanced reporting approach, cross media availability and customization seem to be converging to push the field towards sustainability reporting based on the Internet as a backbone for companies’ underlying ICT infrastructure. Without support from ICT, progress in the field toward sustainability reporting is seen as quite difficult, as moving away from orthodox environmental reporting is a complex task. Hence, a framework on how to use the Internet and its associated technologies is proposed, including four conceptual components: stakeholder analysis, information requirement analysis, XML-based document engineering and ICT architecture of an Internet-based reporting system. When employing such an Internet-based approach, it is argued here, the company will be in a position to carry out its tasks of information management well, using its human and organizational resources more efficiently, and communicating on environmental and sustainability issues in a meaningful way; that is, facilitating stakeholder dialogue, interactivity, feedback possibilities and tailor-made reports that respond precisely to the requirements of certain reporting standards and guidelines, or exactly to the information needs of the target groups.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Lorenz M. Hilty, Eberhard K. Seifert, Rene Treibert
Chapter 1
Eberhard K. Seifert
ISO 14031 on “Environmental Performance Evaluation” (EPE) was released in late 1999 and published in Germany by DIN in early 2000 also as DIN EN ISO... Sample PDF
EPE According to ISO 14031: Concept, Experience, and Revision Issues
Chapter 2
Roland Hischier, Paul W. Gilgen
This article describes the importance of standardized, comprehensive and up-to-date life cycle inventory (LCI) databases for implementing policies... Sample PDF
Life Cycle Assessment Databases as Part of Sustainable Development Strategies: The Example of Ecoinvent
Chapter 3
Rolf Frischknecht
In late 2000 the project ecoinvent 2000 was officially launched. Several Swiss Federal Offices and research institutes of the ETH domain agreed on a... Sample PDF
Ecoinvent Database: Quality Control and User Interfaces for a Web-Based Life Cycle Assessment Database
Chapter 4
Hans-Dietrich Haasis, Gunnar Jurgens, Torsten Kriwald
Environmental protection in companies gains higher importance as the demand for information on environmental performance is rewarded by society... Sample PDF
Organisations Models and Information Systems for Production-Integrated Environmental Protection (OPUS)
Chapter 5
Jan Hedemann, Andreas Moller, Peter Muller-Beilschmidt, Dirk Rohdemann, Mario Schmidt, Bernd Schmitt
This chapter describes how information technology (IT) support for industrial ecology can be integrated in a workplace environment, providing a... Sample PDF
Integration of Material Flow Management Tools in Workplace Environments
Chapter 6
Stefan Enzler, Helmut Krcmar, Roland Pfenning, Wolfgang Scheide, Markus Strobel
The point of departure for ECO Rapid is the assumption that environmental management instruments have been perfected, but they will only be able to... Sample PDF
Eco-Efficient Controlling of Material Flows with Flow Cost Accounting: ERP-Based Solutions of the ECO Rapid Project
Chapter 7
Catherine Houstis, Spyros Lalis, Emmanuel Vavalis, Marios Pitikakis, George V. Vasilakis
An advanced eScience middleware system is designed and implemented (the middleware has been developed within the ARION project, IST-2000-25289... Sample PDF
Advanced Middleware for eScience Applied to Environmental Integrated Systems
Chapter 8
Bernd Page, Volker Wohlgemuth
This chapter outlines Material Flow Networks as a special modelling approach in the context of ecobalancing, that is, for modelling the... Sample PDF
Linking Economic Optimisation and Simulation Models to Environmental Material Flow Networks for Ecoefficiency
Chapter 9
Justus von Geibler, Michael Kuhndt, Volker Turk
This chapter concentrates on the environmental impacts of the increasing use of the Internet. It highlights that the Internet and Internet... Sample PDF
Virtual Networking without a Backpack? Resource Consumption of Information Technologies
Chapter 10
Aldo de Moor, Rolf Kleef
Computer-mediated discussion processes play an important role in achieving sustainable development. However, when part of authoring complex... Sample PDF
A Social Context Model for Discussion Process Analysis
Chapter 11
Uwe Schneidewing
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have direct and indirect effects on sustainability. The direct effects are linked to the material... Sample PDF
E-Organization and the Sustainable Information Society
Chapter 12
Ralf Isenmann
Corporate environmental reporting using the Internet – especially the WWW – is a rapidly emerging and increasingly popular method. Today, online... Sample PDF
Corporate Sustainability Reporting: A Case for the Internet
Chapter 13
Martin Kreeb, Werner Schulz, Christof Vosseler, Helmut Krcmar, Annette Rudel
Ecoradar ( / is the name of an innovative Internet portal that sets out to use the simplest and most persuasive... Sample PDF
Web Portals: A Tool for Environmental Management
Chapter 14
Alfred Posch
Industrial recycling networks are very effective in minimizing impact on the environment by building up closed loops of material and energy use... Sample PDF
From "Industrial Symbiosis" to "Sustainability Networks"
Chapter 15
Stefan Naumann
In this chapter we describe the “eFood-Coop” software system that supports an eco-community in ordering, purchasing and delivering organic products... Sample PDF
Information Systems for Co-Operative Procurement of Organic Food as a Basis for Decentralised Eco-Villages
Chapter 16
Simon Giesecke, Gerriet Reents
In this chapter, we present the Web-based carpooling system ORISS, which was initially developed by a student project group at University of... Sample PDF
ORISS: A Web-Based Carpooling System
Chapter 17
Thomas Rose, Gertraud Peinel, Kostas Karatzas, Per Henrik Johansen, Jon Erik Lindberg
Citizens call for timely and high-quality environmental information for reasons of awareness and personal well-being. Only an informed citizen will... Sample PDF
Citizen-Centered Environmental Information Dissemination via Multiple Information Channels
Chapter 18
Chris Jarvis, John Kupiec
This chapter highlights the importance that the Environment Agency places on the provision of information and the key part it plays in achieving... Sample PDF
Accessing Public Sector Environmental Data and Information: Development and Demonstration of a National Portal
Chapter 19
Werner Strauss, Klaus-Dieter Herrmann, Christoph Roenick
This chapter will show how the demands on safety, environmental and quality management systems and their implementation into IT solutions have... Sample PDF
The Integration of Safety, Environmental and Quality Management Systems
Chapter 20
Stefan Braker
For many organisations the present status of integration of management systems raises the question where the development goes and whether there are... Sample PDF
Support of Integrated Management Systems by the Use of In-Plant Information, Management and Monitoring Systems
Chapter 21
Walter Hurster, Klaus Bieber, Bruno Klahn, Reinhard Micheler, Thomas Wilbois, Roland Obrecht, Fritz Schmidt
The technical implementation of a new remote monitoring system for nuclear power plants is described in this chapter as an example of a modern... Sample PDF
Remote Monitoring of Nuclear Power Plants in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Chapter 22
Nektarios Chrysoulakis, Poulicos Prastacos, Constantinos Cartalis
In this study, a GIS based decision support tool is proposed for the support of technological risk management by integrating moderate and high... Sample PDF
Development of a Decision Support Tool for Technological Risk Management with Remote Sensing and GIS
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