BASF : Falling behind goals

An integrated annual report strains coordination with the corporate site

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The feature

BASF, Germany based chemicals company, has let its annual report outrun its corporate website. BASF’s newly produced annual report website is linked to from its corporate home page. The Management’s Analysis section includes a page on Global Goals for reducing emissions to water. It describes actions and performance in 2012 along with a set of enlargeable charts showing annual progress from 2007 to 2012 toward the company’s targeted reduction in 2020. The corporate website’s Sustainability section provides a link from within its Environment sub-section to the same set of charts (see below). This launches a Global goals page in the 2011 edition of the annual report, where the descriptions and charts refer to and stop at performance in 2011.

The takeaway

BASF’s reporting of its environmental and safety performance and management is notably detailed and extensive but its handling of the complexity is not quite so impressive. While many parts of the corporate website have been updated and coordinated with the latest (2012) annual report some important issues have slipped under the quality assurance radar. As a chemicals company it must expect close scrutiny of its water use and management, so to provide outdated coverage in its online Sustainability section – where people are arguably more likely to look for it than in the main annual report – represents at best an embarrassing oversight. The integration of detailed sustainability reporting with the annual report is still rare enough to make the Sustainability section a first port of call for information seekers, but in eliminating the traditional time lag between publications (annual and sustainability reports) it should in theory rule out mismatches in the currency of content. It does also, though, intensify the pressure on the communications team, which may be a factor here.
First published 26 February, 2013
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