StartArticle bankThe sustainability report's most important stakeholders

The sustainability report's most important stakeholders

Since 2016, CtrlPrint has conducted regular surveys among our users to gather and share insights and knowledge from corporate reporting professionals. For the fourth time, we asked all our users who is the most important recipient of the report.

Sustainability ReportsCorporate reports

The changing dynamics of sustainability reporting: Who holds the key

Interestingly, this year's ranking mirrors that of 2016 and closely matches the importance given to stakeholders in the annual report.


1. Shareholders
2. Investors and analysts
3. Banks and other debtholders
4. Employees
5. Suppliers


1. Shareholders
2. Investors and analysts
3. Employees
4. Customers
5. Banks and other debtholders

A logical question arises, why the change back?

Sustainability in investment decisions

The reason for this shift is most likely the increasing importance of sustainability in investment decisions. Beyond risk mitigation, sustainability reporting has become relevant to revenue generation. This trend underlines the central role of shareholders, investors and analysts. Their focus on sustainability is not just a moral stance, but a strategic financial consideration.

Understanding the relative importance

But does this mean that employees and customers are less concerned about sustainability, or are considered less important by reporting companies?

Probably not if you look at sustainability communication in general, but perhaps the annual financial and sustainability report is less relevant as a source of information for these groups. Companies are using other channels to communicate sustainability to employees and customers.

The way forward: Integrated annual reporting

As the corporate landscape evolves, integrated annual reporting is becoming the industry standard. This approach seamlessly blends financial and sustainability reporting to promote a comprehensive understanding of a company's performance. With this integration, stakeholder priorities are expected to converge, removing the perceived dissonance between annual and sustainability reports.

In essence, the current stakeholder hierarchy in sustainability reports does not undermine the importance of employees and customers. Rather, it highlights the tailored approach that companies take to communicating their sustainability efforts. As integrated reporting becomes more prevalent, a unified perspective in which all stakeholders are valued equally is on the horizon.

Let's get in touch!