Companies Can Improve Sustainability Reporting Through Their Websites

New report from AltaTerra Research finds that even leading companies can improve timeliness of information. While there is no single industry leading the way in online reporting practices, leaders across industries score high for ease of website navigation.

Palo Alto, CA, January 12, 2010 --( AltaTerra Research is pleased to announce the release of a new report for marketing, communications and IT professionals, entitled, “Greening the Company Website: A New Era in Sustainability Reporting.” This report examines the growing trend in leading companies to use corporate websites to better communicate with stakeholders and engage them in sustainability efforts. Developing an original analytical framework as a result of evaluating the websites of sixty recognized leaders in corporate sustainability, authors Jaclyn Pitera and Kathleen Acuff identify eight essential attributes for effective online communication and engagement. Among the findings presented in this report are:

Overall excellence in the presentation of environmental sustainability information. For example, nearly all company websites provide helpful navigational signposts in relation to sustainability. On a scale from zero to three (0-3), the average score for navigation across all companies was nearly three (2.94).

Need for improvement on data substance. The lowest-scoring attribute overall was timeliness, with the average score being less than one (0.87).

No single industry leading the way. Scores varied widely across 13 industries evaluated.

Easy enhancements can be made now. Companies of all types can readily improve their sustainability reporting through their websites, independent of formal sustainability reports and environmental issues overall.

“Many of the company websites we reviewed succeeded in presenting basic information about sustainability efforts, offering improved visibility and access to data that is typically found in annual sustainability reports,” said Pitera, “However, only a select few are using the Web to its full potential to deliver up-to-the-minute information and engage in two-way communication,” she continued.

"One of the things that surprised us was the number and diversity of companies that are doing well in particular dimensions," Pitera commented. "This is the beginning of a clear trend."

The report includes evaluation of the following companies: BMW, GM, Toyota, Alcoa, BASF, Dow, DSM, Holcim, Panasonic Electric Works, Adidas, Kingfisher, Nike, Patagonia, Starbucks, Timberland, Unilever, Wal-Mart, Aracruz Celulose, EnCana, ENI, Total, Xstrata, ANZ Banking Group, Credit Agricole, Investomentos Itau, State Street, Swiss Re, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Novartis, Roche, Smith & Nephew, Applied Materials, Atlantia, Atlas Copco, General Electric, TNT, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Sun, Pearson, Reed Elsevier, GPT Group, Land Securities, Dexus Property Group, BT Group, Nokia, NTT Docomo, Telefonica, Telus, Air France/KLM, East Japan Railway, Sodexo, Centrica, Cia Energetica de Minas Gerais, Iberdrola, PG&E.

Further information and a link to download a free summary of the report are available at:

About AltaTerra Research
AltaTerra Research is a research consultancy specializing in sustainable business and the commercial marketplace for clean technology solutions. Through research reports, executive events and advisory services, AltaTerra helps forward-looking organizations improve resource-efficiency in their operations and capitalize on new 'green' market opportunities. From our headquarters in Silicon Valley, we have been serving a global base of corporate, institutional, and government clients since 2007. More information is available at

AltaTerra Research
Anneke Mueller Hohl