Annual reports are an important source of qualitative information about a company’s strategic areas, including sustainability. However, previous work on sustainability assessment has been limited to quantitative indicators that are difficult to obtain. Here, we address this issue by analyzing a company’s strategic documents, with the specific aim of demonstrating the role of sustainability and social responsibility in the text of the annual reports of companies in the IT services industry. We demonstrate that this information is a significant determinant of future economic outcomes. Specifically, here we evaluate sentiment in managerial communication in the area of sustainable business by using collocation analysis of topic and sentiment word lists. Several domain-specific word lists were used for each category monitored. Specifically, Loughran and McDonald’s word list was used to measure sentiment in the context of corporate social responsibility and sustainability. The word list that was developed by Pencle and Malaescu was used for CSR, while novel word lists are proposed for sustainability topics. The results of experiments show that the sentiment of sustainability topics (environmental and social in particular) in the annual reports may be a significant indicator of future profitability and thus represent an important information for corporate stakeholders.
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