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School of Business | Department of Accounting | Accounting | 2012
Thesis number: 12942
Developing sustainability reporting - Case Cargotec
Author: Ahonen, Ilona
Title: Developing sustainability reporting - Case Cargotec
Year: 2012  Language: eng
Department: Department of Accounting
Academic subject: Accounting
Index terms: laskentatoimi; accounting; yhteiskuntavastuu; corporate responsibility; raportit; reports; kehitys; development
Pages: 79
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_12942.pdf pdf  size:2 MB (1081986)
Key terms: sustainability reporting; vastuullisuusraportointi; Global Reporting Initiative (GRI); Cargotec

The purpose of this master's thesis is to answer a research question commissioned by the global cargo handling solutions provider Cargotec: what do stakeholders think about Cargotec's sustainability reporting and whether they would like it to be developed? Related to this is a sub-question: should Cargotec's sustainability reporting focus on Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) indicators or on the impacts of using the company's products? The GRI indicators focus on the manufacturing stage of the product life cycle, even if the use stage causes environmental and social impacts also.


The research method was an empirical case study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted both with Cargotec representatives and among the key stakeholders of Cargotec's sustainability reporting, which were identified as analysts and large customers. In addition, a sustainability reporting expert was interviewed.


Most of the stakeholders thought that the key issues are covered in Cargotec's sustainability reporting. They presented various suggestions for developing the reporting but findings indicate that it is not cost-effective to implement all of them. Stakeholders' suggestions for improvement were therefore classified into those that should be implemented now and those that could be considered in the future. The suggestions to be implemented are: 1) figures should be put in context, i.e. reported relative to the amounts of production or employees, 2) goal setting should be included in the reporting and reporting on targets should be transparent, and 3) coverage of the reporting should be extended to the whole supply chain, i.e. there should be indicators about suppliers and products as well. The last suggestion for improvement answers also to the sub-question: in stakeholders' opinion, Cargotec's sustainability reporting should focus equally on the sustainability impacts of the company's own operations as well as of using the products.

Some of the findings can be useful to other companies as well. For example, the study indicates that stakeholders appreciate balanced, reader-friendly sustainability reporting with a life cycle perspective. The finding that stakeholders expect basic elements from reporting is encouraging to all reporters: even small amendments can help them meet stakeholders' expectations for sustainability reporting. Moreover, the study suggests that satisfying different stakeholders' information needs might not be such a great challenge in reality. However, the use of multiple communication channels seems necessary.
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