Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Rio Tinto expands sustainability data in its annual report

June 2008

Rio Tinto has devoted an unusually large section of its latest annual report to information on corporate responsibility.

The mining group has set aside 12 pages under the heading of ‘sustainable development’ in the 140-page report. The section, assured separately by Ernst & Young, contains detailed tables of goals and targets and key performance indicators on non-financial topics.

A number of companies now discuss corporate responsibility in their annual reports, but most do so in about two pages and do not provide a detailed account.

Chris Deri, global practice leader of the Edelman communication consultancy’s CSR and sustainability practice, said Rio Tinto’s decision reflected the trend towards blurring the line between annual reports and sustainability documents.

‘We do see an increased mash-up of CSR information combined with traditional business data and communication’, he said. ‘Taking corporate responsibility and sustainability issues out of their separate silos within a company and planting them squarely in the mainstream of business activities is a positive development. It increases the extent to which these risks and opportunities are presented and assessed through the traditional prisms of return on investment and long-term value, as opposed to what feels good.’

Stine Jensen, corporate responsibility consultant at communications consultancy Radley Yeldar, said moves by Rio Tinto and others to include more information in annual reports showed that CSR is ‘finally moving into the boardroom’. However, she wanted to see more companies fully integrating financial and non-financial data throughout their annual reports ‘rather than just having – or expanding – a corporate social responsibility section’.

Rio Tinto | Global | Transparency

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