There is a book called “How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read”.

The author is a professor named Pierbayard at the University of Paris 8 who needs to read and digest many books. Maybe it’s because he’s a literature professor. It seems that he needed a way to speak as if he had read even an unread book. Just as there is a way to tell about a book you haven’t read, there is a way to know about a company you haven’t been to. It is reading the company’s ‘sustainability management report’.

We use products and services offered by a wide variety of companies. Nevertheless, little is known about the company. Information on products and services is limited, and information acquisition methods are very passive. This is because most consumers receive product information and images favorable to the company’s reputation as advertisements on TV and the Internet, and judge the company and its products and services based on this. There are some financial information centered on information collected for investment if you are a stock trader or know internal information of a company received from an acquaintance at work, but there are cases where it is difficult to guarantee the reliability of the information source and transparency of the information.

ⓒAP=연합뉴스

If you buy a product with an ‘environmental label’ or if the price is the same, look at the ‘carbon label’ and buy a product that emits less carbon. For every pair sold, a pair of TOMS shoes are donated to children in need. Some people prefer Not only the products and services that the company is selling, but also the values ​​and processes that the company thinks about products and services are influencing consumption.

These factors include corporate philosophy, management ethics, social and environmental impact of products and services, and how the company returns profits to society. The sum of these factors constitutes corporate sustainability. Regardless of whether we are aware of sustainability, we have evaluated the sustainability of a company and are pursuing rational consumption based on it. In addition, a company’s ‘sustainability management report’ can be usefully used to better understand and objectively evaluate the company’s sustainability.

People who read a company’s sustainability report are very diverse, including investors, employees, employees of competitors, sustainability management experts, NGOs, governments, students, and consumers. This is because the sustainability report contains A to Z of corporate activities that include not only financial information but also non-financial information. In Korea, Hyundai Motor Company published the first sustainability report in 2003, and the number of Korean companies publishing sustainability reports has recently increased to about 100.

Publishing the report is a voluntary activity of companies, but companies are investing considerable time and money in publishing sustainability reports, such as receiving external consulting. The unfortunate thing is that assuming that the sustainability report is a ‘one book’ that contains the company’s sustainability management activities for a year, the readership and number of readers are not large compared to the efforts made.

Companies are making various efforts in terms of design, content, and accessibility to inform more people about the sustainability of their companies (to broaden the readership of the report), but sustainability reports are still unfamiliar to the general consumer. However, wouldn’t it have a real meaning as a tool to talk about corporate sustainability only when it becomes a sustainability report that can be read by consumers? Now is the time to expand the readership of sustainability reports to consumers.

I recommend reading the ‘Sustainability Management Report’ to smart consumers who are more active in understanding corporate sustainability. It’s the best way to learn about a company you haven’t been to.”

How to find out about a company you haven’t been to

Seo Uk Sustainability Management & Climate Change

www.ecoday.kr