Evaluation of Sustainability Reporting in the Canadian Electricity Sector
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Sustainability reports are essential platforms through which organizations communicate their corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments to stakeholders and demonstrate accountability. Organizations often commit significant resources annually to the production of sustainability reports; however, several debates arise as to the utility and quality of information in these reports. In this light, this study presents an evaluation of sustainability reporting in the Canadian Electricity Sector using the Industry’s sustainability leaders (member companies of the Canadian Electricity Association) as a case study. The research adopted a mixed method approach, which consisted of two studies. The first study utilized content analysis to evaluate sustainability reports and further determine the extent to which 15 identified sustainability issues relevant to the electricity industry were addressed in the reports. The second study utilized the themes derived from the first study to construct an online survey to gain understanding of how companies perceive their report and further determine how the 15 sustainability issues ranked in order of relevance to the company’s operation. The objective of this comparison was to determine if the most relevant issues to the companies (as identified by the survey) were indeed the most reported issues (as shown in the sustainability/annual reports). Results obtained revealed that the sustainability communication of the Canadian electricity association had significantly greater focus on the social aspect of sustainability than the environment and economic aspects. Furthermore, the result identified a disconnect between the most relevant issues to the companies and the most reported issues.