Pictures at an exhibition revisited: Reflections on a typology of images used in the construction of corporate social responsibility and sustainability in non-financial corporate reporting

This source preferred by Tim Breitbarth

Authors: Breitbarth, T., Harris, P. and Insch, A.

Journal: Journal of Public Affairs

Volume: 10

Pages: 238-257

ISSN: 1472-3891

DOI: 10.1002/pa.344

Strategic corporate and public affairs communication about Corporate Social Respon- sibility (CSR) has emerged as a major component of corporate efforts to interact with their stakeholders and society at large. Non-financial reporting, and CSR reporting in particu- lar, is now seen as an essential corporate communication process by most members of a company’s stakeholder community. This growth in CSR reporting has been driven by the need to increase corporate transparency and accountability concerning social and environmental issues. Arguably, the European Union is the most progressive region in adopting CSR reporting. Almost all of Europe’s top 100 companies report on social and environmental performance, whilst figures for the USA and the rest of the world are much lower. The latest Accountability Rating concludes that ‘Europe leads, America lags’ after measuring companies’ social and environmental impacts.

The authors argue that visual communication is as important as words and numbers in creating meaning and assess UK and German Companies’ non-financial perform- ance. Utilizing a range of research methods including content analysis and semiotic interpretation the authors propose a typology of images used in non-financial reporting. This typology and associated conceptual development can used to more accurately define and interpret CSR and sustainability.

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Authors: Breitbarth, T., Harris, P. and Insch, A.

Journal: Journal of Public Affairs

Volume: 10

Issue: 4

Pages: 238-257

eISSN: 1479-1854

ISSN: 1472-3891

DOI: 10.1002/pa.344

Strategic corporate and public affairs communication about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has emerged as a major component of corporate efforts to interact with their stakeholders and society at large. Non-financial reporting, and CSR reporting in particular, is now seen as an essential corporate communication process by most members of a company's stakeholder community. This growth in CSR reporting has been driven by the need to increase corporate transparency and accountability concerning social and environmental issues. Arguably, the European Union is the most progressive region in adopting CSR reporting. Almost all of Europe's top 100 companies report on social and environmental performance, whilst figures for the USA and the rest of the world are much lower. The latest Accountability Rating concludes that 'Europe leads, America lags' after measuring companies' social and environmental impacts.The authors argue that visual communication is as important as words and numbers in creating meaning and assess UK and German Companies' non-financial performance. Utilizing a range of research methods including content analysis and semiotic interpretation the authors propose a typology of images used in non-financial reporting. This typology and associated conceptual development can used to more accurately define and interpret CSR and sustainability. © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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