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Petereit, Annekatrin, 2008. Sustainability reporting of the forest and paper sector : recommendations for improvements of corporate responsibility reports of forest and paper companies based on quality assessments. SLU, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, Alnarp. Alnarp: SLU, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre



This master thesis examines the quality of separate corporate responsibility (CR) reports
published by companies of the forest and paper sector. It aims to provide recommendations
for quality improvements of such reports and thus an enhancement of its usefulness for
stakeholders and investors in particular. Quality assessments are conducted and recommendations
are presented for the whole forest and paper sector, for emerging sustainability reporters
of the sector and finally under consideration of forest and paper companies headquartered
in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
It is found that corporate responsibility reporting of the forest and paper sector follows general
sustainability reporting patterns as examined in previous studies on other sectors. The
quality of sustainability performance information provided by the sector is relatively low,
with disclosure on social issues being weakest and information on environmental topics
being relatively good. It is thus especially recommended to provide more detailed information
on social sustainability performance that goes beyond data on workforce numbers, its
diversity or occupational health and safety measurements. Additionally, companies of this
sector should provide economic sustainability performance information that exceeds these
given in annual reports. The revelation of information on environmental biodiversity as
well as environmental effects of transport should be enhanced further. However, in contrast
to other studies on non-forest and paper sectors, the use of external validation
measurements by forest and paper enterprises is higher. Additionally, better quality of
information on sustainability performance data was found for issues that are of particular
relevance for companies of this specific sector.
Reports of larger companies were generally considered more up to date, more comprehensive
and of higher quality than reports published by smaller ones defined as emerging
sustainability reporting bodies. The largest differences in the quality of the published
material were examined for forestry-related issues and social sustainability performance
information, but also concerning the environmental topics of transport and compliance
with laws and regulations. More detailed information on behalf of emerging sustainability
reporting bodies is thus particularly recommended for the two latter issues as well as for
reporting on society and product responsibility. Beyond this, more detailed information
should also be delivered with regard to forestry-related certification, illegal logging and
carbon sequestration/storage. External validation measurements as the use of GRI guide2
lines and third-party assurance should additionally find more consideration within the
reporting of small forest and paper companies.
Clear differences were also detected with regard to the quality of reports published by
North American, European and Asia-Pacific forest and paper companies. European companies
have used GRI guidelines in the most extensive way and provide the highest level of
quality on social and particularly environmental sustainability performance information as
well as towards forestry-related issues. North American enterprises however performed
best on economic sustainability performance information. In contrast, Asia-Pacific companies
provide best quality of information on the forestry-related issue of illegal logging,
whereas the quality of sustainability performance disclosure is generally inferior in
comparison with the two other regions. Based on the region related findings, corporations
headquartered in the Asia-Pacific region are advised to publish non-financial and
particularly sustainability reports more extensively and enhance the quality of it by a more
detailed and explicit reporting on all sustainability issues as well as information concerning
forestry-related certification. Beyond this, more current non-financial reports as well as a
more extensive use of external validation measurements are recommended for North American
forest and paper companies. Additionally, North American enterprises should
enhance the detailedness of reporting on forestry-related issues.
The findings of the thesis enlarge the field of research on sustainability reporting within the
forest and paper sector and contribute to an overview of the status quo of corporate responsibility
reporting practices in general.

Main title:Sustainability reporting of the forest and paper sector
Subtitle:recommendations for improvements of corporate responsibility reports of forest and paper companies based on quality assessments
Authors:Petereit, Annekatrin
Supervisor:Sallnäs, Ola
Series:Master thesis / SLU, 5045
Volume/Sequential designation:116
Year of Publication:2008
Level and depth descriptor:Other
Student's programme affiliation:SY001 Forest Science - Master's Programme 300 HEC
Supervising department:(S) > Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
Keywords:sustainability forest paper sector
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:?? 5045 ??
Forestry production
Deposited On:05 Oct 2017 07:35
Metadata Last Modified:05 Oct 2017 07:35

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