Methodology to analyse the comprehensiveness of sustainability reports
The comprehensiveness of Swiss sustainability reports was determined using the Reporting Matters methodology of WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development), which was slightly adapted to the Swiss context. The analysis was carried out by engageability after a training session at WBCSD.

General concepts that guide the sustainability reporting: completeness, materiality, stake-holder engagement, operating context, balance and alignment.


Information that the reporting material should contain: sustainability governance, strategy, partnerships & collaborations, implementation & controlls, performance and targets & commitments.


Elements that facilitate the readers’ access to and digestion of the reporting material: ease of access and compelling design.


: The criterion examines whether the reporting material describes the scope of the report, the company’s boundaries and its value chain in sufficient detail.

Materiality: The criterion focuses on the process of preparation of the materiality analysis. On the one hand, it evaluates how the key issues have been identified (e.g. in cooperation with stakeholders) and on the other hand, how the results have been approved (e.g. validated by the Board of Directors or the Executive Board) and disclosed (e. g. using a graph/matrix). Finally, it is examined whether the company has identified and is reporting on outward and inward impacts and dynamic materiality.

Stakeholder engagement: The criterion “stakeholder engagement” analyses whether stakeholders have been identified and whether the company discloses their concerns and how it responds to them.

Operating context: The criterion checks whether external trends (industry-specific trends, megatrends, legislation, climate-related financial information) are mentioned in the reporting material and whether the company responds to them.

Balance: This criterion analyzes whether the company is self-critical and responds to possible challenges, performance deficits, third party concerns or negative/critical cases.

N.b. The Credibility-Analysis (see Chapter II) further evaluates the description of the causes and consequences of negative/critical cases. The third subanalysis (III. Relevance of sustainability priorities) examines whether negative cases that were reported in the media are addressed in the reporting material.

Alignment: The criterion examines whether the focus is on the issues identified as material by the company.

Please note: While the Reporting Matters methodology also analyses the principle ‘external assurance’, the Swiss expert group decided in 2015 to analyze this principle for benchmark purposes only (no scoring), to ensure that smaller companies who might not be able to afford external assurance have no disadvantage. See results on assurance in ‘reporting trends’.


Sustainability governance:
The criterion analyzes various elements of the sustainability governance of the company in question (e.g. disclosure of the organizational structure with regard to sustainability, of the responsibilities with regard to sustainability or of the structure of incentivizing systems regarding sustainability for the top management).

Strategy: The criterion reviews the vision of and strategic approach to sustainability, in particular also, whether sustainability is integrated into the corporate strategy.

Implementation & controls: The criterion analyzes the reporting on management systems (e.g. guidelines and certificates) and their implementation in the operational activities of the company as well as the reporting on Human Rights and Diversity policies.

Targets and commitments: The criterion evaluates the company’s targets and commitments.

The SMART concept is central to both this criterion and the impact analysis of the Credibility-Analysis.

Sustainability target is thematically consistent with one or more of the company’s priorities (materiality matrix).
Target is quantified (absolute or relative).
There is an action and implementation plan available to achieve the target.
– The goal is in the future: a corresponding trend is observable and seems to be sufficient to achieve the goal, or;

– The goal lies in the past and has been achieved.

The goal is time-bound and aligned:

– Short-term (< 2 years)

– Medium-term (2-5 years)

– Long-term (> 5 years)

Partnerships and collaborations: The criterion examines the reporting on partnerships and collaborations that are relevant for sustainability and material issues.

Performance: The criterion analyzes the depth of information on the company’s performance regarding its material topics (especially the existence of key performance indicators).


Ease of access:
This criterion evaluates the availability of sustainability content (e.g. how easy it is to find it on the homepage) and whether it is tailored to different target groups.)

Compelling Design (extract): This criterion evaluates how the sustainability information is delivered (i.e. the extent to which the company appears committed and motivated to achieve its goal, or whether there is a slogan or an overarching message that conveys commitment or enthusiasm).

N.B. In 2015, the Swiss expert group decided that ‘compelling design’, which is analysed within the Reporting Matters methodology, should not be analysed in Switzerland; thus, avoiding the certain risk of subjective design preferences among analysts. Since 2023, WBCSD combined the criterion ‘compelling design’ with sub-criteria regarding structure and messaging within reports. These sub-criteria are still analysed as part of Focused Reporting.