How are Stakeholder Relations Communicated in Sustainability Reports? A Longitudinal and Cross-country Focus



Veröffentlicht Mai 25, 2018
Susanne Arvidsson


Since stakeholders today are more aware and informed of various sustainability aspects, they are also becoming more involved and participate in shaping sustainability discourses (see e.g. Golob et al. 2017). It is vital to understand if companies utilise this accentuated commitment towards sustainability aspects by interacting with their stake - holders and involving them in different engagement activities aimed at developing and improving their sustainability practices. Thus, grounded on legitimacy and stake holder theory, the objective is to analyse how stakeholder relations are communicated in sustainability reports. The focus is on the extent, content and structure of informa tion related to three themes; stakeholder-identification analysis, stakeholder engagement & dialogue and materiality process.
The study applies a content-analysis methodology in which sustainability reports from two EU-reporting settings, Germany and Sweden, are at focus. The reports come from the largest listed companies included in the indexes DAX30 and OMXS30. The analysis confirms an increased and elaborated focus on sustainability relations in both the German and Swedish sustainability reports. While stakeholder-identification analysis receives remarkable little attention in the reports, much focus is on stakeholder engagement & dialogue and the materiality process. However, most companies fail to explain how the outcome of both their stakeholder-engagement activities and materiality process will affect or be integrated in business operations. This indicates that the companies might not or at least not fully utilize the involvement with their stake holders to develop and improve their sustainability practices.


Arvidsson, Susanne. 2018. „How Are Stakeholder Relations Communicated in Sustainability Reports? A Longitudinal and Cross-Country Focus“. MedienJournal 42 (1):51-70.
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