The first generation of corporate reports was dubbed 'Greenwash.' Twenty years later, today's reports might be called 'Designer-Brand Greenwash.' To most readers they offer a persuasive look at the inner working of a company's social and environmental activities. Emerging reporting standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative and attestations statements by independent consulting firms provide an extra level of credibility to the current generation of reporting.
While today's reports appear to pass muster with most, there is growing dissatisfaction from a select few who have the technical wherewithal to see beyond the designer packaging. Organizations such as IRRC, SustainAbility, UNEP, New Economics Foundation, and the Council on Economic Priorities point to the gap between the corporate spin and the internal realities. Just what is wrong and how can reporting be turned into a strategic advantage rather than just another public relations vehicle?.