A comprehensive quantitative analysis of the status of sustainability reporting in Germany does not exist. The objective of the research project was to bridge this gap. The study examined how many companies in Germany already issue sustainability reports, the size of these companies and what industries they come from. Furthermore, it analysed the guidelines and standards for reporting on which these companies rely. In this manner as comprehensive a picture as possible of sustainability reporting in Germany is drawn and compared with the situation in other countries.
The results show, among other things, that in Germany (as of 2006) above all DAX companies issue sustainability reports, whereas only four SMEs reported. German sustainability reporting is also based heavily on the environmental reporting of the 1990s. Two thirds of the companies with integrated sustainability reporting have previously issued environmental reports or EMAS environmental statements.
The international comparison shows that the most sustainability reports are published by companies from Great Britain (16 per cent), the USA (9 per cent) and Japan (7 per cent). Just over 4 per cent of reports published worldwide come from Germany. German companies are among the laggards in this area.