Johnson Matthey : Dividing attention

Reporting sets a standard that is too good for its own good.

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The Site

Johnson Matthey, a UK-based specialty chemicals company, makes important data more likely to be overlooked by isolating related elements of its performance reporting. Johnson Matthey publishes an annual sustainability report microsite that includes a secondary link in its left navigation to an Interactive Charts tool. The tool offers a sophisticated range of options for interrogating historic performance data in four categories: Financial, Social, Health and Safety, and Environment, as well as Progress to Sustainability 2017 (its programme of long-term performance targets). Options include downloads of the underlying data in Excel format. The four categories are also present separately in the left navigation as sub-sections in their own right. They sit in the menu hierarchy above Interactive Charts (which is the last of the 20 links) and each contains an Our Performance page that provides narrative and figures (static charts and data) under topic headings. Among the left menu headings between them and Interactive Charts is Performance Summary, which pulls together tables and figures discretely for each of Financial, Social, Health and Safety, and Environment. These cross-link to the Our Performance narratives (see above) but in neither setting are there links to or prompts for Interactive Charts.

The Takeaway

So much about Johnson Matthey’s performance reporting is not only good but impressively so: the range and depth of categories, for example, the mixture of narrative and data, and the gathering together of the data in one place, Performance Summary. And yet that strength may also be its weakness – the very fact that the provision of these fundamental elements is above the ordinary may blind sustainability professionals in particular to another facet of the reporting, Interactive Charts, that is even more striking. This delivers the bonus for professionals of analyst-friendly data in a downloadable format, Excel, which they can import into their own systems. Interactive Charts is not entirely invisible but has been marginalised to an unnecessary and unhelpful degree. Cross-linking to it from the individual Our Performance pages and from Performance Summary especially would raise its visibility at the point where the people most likely to be interested in it are most likely to gravitate. It requires little extra effort to tie all the performance strands together to provide a premium service that is greater than the sum of its parts.
First published 04 August, 2011
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