This paper describes the analysis of online Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports published by 97 market–listed companies from the USA, Germany and the rest of Europe. It points out regional differences as well as changes over time by performing both, a qualitative and a quantitative content analysis. The qualitative analysis focuses on four main aspects: (a) Why? Why do companies report on CSR? (b) What? What information and key performance indicators are included in the companies' reports? (c) How? How are the reports technically implemented and who is responsible for the content? (d) Whereby? By what guidelines, rankings and certifications do companies create their CSR reporting? The quantitative analysis identifies shifts of the CSR reports' focus over time and investigates whether CSR reports are being (mis)used as marketing instruments.
Keywords: content analysis, corporate social responsibility, market–listed companies, CSR reporting, sustainability, qualitative analysis, quantitative analysis, global reporting initiative, corporate citizenship, environmental reporting, sustainable development, innovation, transnational analysis, online CSR reports, key performance indicators, KPI, marketing instruments