BASF’s corporate website is the most complete and web savvy in the field of online sustainability communications, Jungle Rating – a Dutch internet consultancy – concludes after investigating all sustainability websites of the European sustainability leaders, listed on the DJSI STOXX index. BASF is closely followed in the ranking by BHP Billiton, Centrica, Novo Nordisk and BP.
The report also offers information on practices companies are following on line. For example, 33 percent of companies use the sustainability moniker for sustainability sites and 45 percent still only offer reports in PDF format.
BASF obtains the first place in the ranking in the report (PDF), which ranks 53 companies in all, with a score of 67 percent. “BASF publishes topical information (news and case study updates) and offers complete GRI-based performance information, very useful for the professional user groups (socially responsible investors and analysts),” the report states.
The website also contains several unique features, such as case study videos, flash animations, downloadable Excel sheets and interactive graphs. Tanja Castor, responsible for BASF’s sustainability section, says that “sustainability is one of the four strategic guidelines at BASF, so it is extremely important to communicate about it.”
Among the close followers, Centrica’s extensive CSR video interview section and BP’s carbon calculator (enables visitors to calculate their CO2 footprint) are pointed out.
“The best performers provide complete and topical information, but also make use of the unique possibilities the web offers in terms of multimedia (e.g. video, rich internet) and personalisation (e.g. interactive graphs, downloadable Excel sheets),” says Geert Jan Grimberg, internet consultant at Jungle Rating. Very few companies use their corporate website to facilitate a stakeholder dialogue, by means of a weblog or periodical chat sessions.
The report also points out trends that Jungle Rating foresees in the field of online sustainability communications:
- Disclosing topicalities, statements and opinions: Companies use their corporate website more and more to inform stakeholders on topical matters both within their company and in the broader environment (industry / politics).
- Creation of an online stakeholder experience: The last years, wave riders have started to experiment with the use of multimedia (images, video and rich internet) on their corporate website and within the sustainability section.
- Taking into account individual stakeholder preferences: many techniques are available to personalize information for specific needs, some front runners for example offer alert functionalities, interactive charts and/or podcasts (downloadable audio files) within their online sustainability section.
- Establishing an online stakeholder dialogue: Although by far omnipresent yet, some companies start to make use of the various possibilities the internet offers to get a discussion with stakeholders going (e.g. chat, weblog, polls).