It kind of pains me to do this, but since I'm already on page 12 of PwC's pseudo-bible of CR reporting trends (that's right, a report about reports), here goes.

The gem lieth in the CR report PwC bestows honor upon for its "focus": BP's 2008 Sustainability Review. Here's why, in PwC's words:

"BP's 24-page Sustainability Review 2008 emphasizes the company's goal of 'no accidents, no harm to people and no damage to the environment.' There are many solid features in the report and on the website:
  • Live links throughout the PDF to more information on BP's website;
  • Comments from an independent assurance provider throughout the report, as well as a detailed assurance statement that comments on the strengths and weaknesses of BP's reporting;
  • Case studies documenting the company's activities related to each area of focus as well as a searchable library of case studies; and
  • Interactive maps, tools and quizzes."
This surely doesn't come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the sustainability vortex, but two comments:
  1.  Three of the four elements PwC finds so fab-o are just superficial, interactive nice-to-haves in a digital report. "Interactive maps"? You know, if I was a shareholder trying to decide whether an oil company is assessing its environmental and social impacts effectively, I don't think I'd want to take a quiz or click on a map. I'd want some real data (unless I work at Goldman Sachs, in which case that map looks great to me).
  2. More importantly, what if people had spent as much time asking BP about its actual policies for disaster response as they did exploring and lauding its reporting?

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