- freely available
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 950; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8090950
2. Literature Review
- Content related to the core business, which refers to activities that have a strong impact on the area of business and the competitiveness of an organization.
- Content that impacts the value chain, i.e., initiatives that have a significant impact on business processes and activities.
- Social content of generic interest, not significantly related to the core business of an organization but regarding generic philanthropic initiatives.
3. Research Design
4. The Operational Model: Architecture and Metrics
- 4 dimensions
- 18 sub-dimensions
- 64 items
4.1. Strategic Orientation to Sustainability Expressed on the Corporate Website
4.2. The Structure and the Website Tools
4.3. The Ergonomics of the Website
- “Accessibility” refers to the inclusive practice of making websites accessible to all typology of users, including those with disabilities, and concerns the compliance of World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) guidelines.
- “Navigability” regards the ease and the quickness with which users find desired information within the website, including the presence of research tools, the organization of content into classification hierarchies, and their fruition by mobile devices.
- “Usability” encompasses the effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction due to website design and measures the quality of the user experience in achieving specific goals while visiting a website;
- “Interactivity” concerns the presence in the website of two-way communication processes and tools addressed to engage users in the process of navigation.
- “Multimedia” refers to the simultaneous and integrated use of different media within the website.
4.4. Content on the Website
- “Visibility” is the organization’s ability to make visible, traceable, and usable its communication activities for sustainability.
- “Clarity” is the organization’s ability to communicate in a clear and understandable manner, avoiding doubts and misunderstandings.
- “Authenticity” refers to not only truthful but also verifiable and verified communication, through the support of credible sources.
- “Accuracy” is the ability of corporate communication to relate to specific, concrete, and demonstrable aspects, avoiding generic and vague statements.
- “Consistency” is the company’s ability to convey content of sustainability in line with its commitments undertaken in the corporate orientation.
- “Completeness” refers to the presence on the website of the key elements of sustainability communication to satisfy all of the information needs of stakeholders.
4.5. The Greenwashing Penalties
4.6. Value of the OSEC Scores
- s > 80. This score range includes firms that show an excellent compliance to sustainability communication requisites.
- 70 < s < 79. This type of result indicates firms that fulfill communication requirements in a satisfactory way.
- 60 < s < 69. This range presents firms with an acceptable compliance to communication requisites. Improvement actions are however possible on different dimensions.
- 50 < s < 59. Firms in this range show some weaknesses in digital sustainability communication. Several changes are required to avoid reputational risks.
- s < 49. In the last range, firms present a poor compliance of communication requirements. A complete revision of digital communication strategies and practices is needed.
5. Pilot Study
6. Implications and Future Research
Conflicts of Interest
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|Description of Sins||Signals|
|1. Sin of No Proof |
Statements about sustainability, without adequate support of credible sources.
|Cross-checking the items related to orientation and the items that detect the principle of authenticity.|
|2. Sin of Irrelevance |
Statements that divert attention on topics with a low impact in terms of sustainability.
|Cross-checking the items related to orientation and the items of content related to the core business or value chain impact.|
|3. Sin of Vagueness |
Statements about sustainability based on vague or inaccurate information.
|Cross-checking the items related to orientation and the items that detect the principle of accuracy.|
|4. Unidirectional Approach to Stakeholder |
Statement about sustainability, without the support of stakeholder engagement tools.
|Cross-checking the items related to orientation in the sustainability section and the absence of items related to stakeholder engagement tools.|
|5. Sin of Worshiping False Labels |
The presence of sustainability labels (e.g., green brand) not based on a recognized labeling system or certifications.
|Cross-checking the item related to the presence of a green brand and the items related to the verifiability of the information (authenticity) and the labeling system (clarity).|
|Energy and Utilities Companies||Dimensions||Green-Washing||Total Score|
|Orientation (0–9.37)||Structure (0–26.56)||Ergonomics (0–29.69)||Content (0–34.37)|
|United Utilities Group PLC||9.37||20.15||23.89||32.70||86.11|
|Red Eletrica Corp||6.25||15.05||26.51||33.66||81.47|
|Cia Energetica De Minas||9.37||17.49||23.68||30.32||80.86|
|Galp Energia SGPS||6.25||16.38||25.37||31.99||79.99|
|EDP Energias De Portugal SA||6.25||19.70||19.22||30.08||75.25|
|Trans Canada Corp||4.69||17.71||22.05||30.79||75.24|
|Woodside Petroleum LTD||6.25||18.59||20.57||28.41||73.82|
|Gas Natural SDG||7.81||13.72||22.19||30.09||73.81|
|Baker Hughes Inc.||9.37||15.05||17.75||27.69||69.86|
|Ptt Exploration and Production||6.25||19.70||13.57||30.08||69.60|
|Bg Group PLC||4.69||15.72||19.79||28.64||68.84|
|Sembra Energy Corp||4.69||15.93||15.13||31.03||66.78|
|Spectra Energy Corp||0||14.39||15.13||30.79||60.31|
|SBM Offshore NV||9.37||13.72||16.61||29.37||–10.94||58.13|
|Energy and Utilities Companies||Dimensions||Green-Washing||Total Score|
|Orientation (0–9.37)||Structure (0–26.56)||Ergonomics (0–29.69)||Content (0–34.37)|
|Positional values||Maximum (Iberdrola)||9.37||23.91||26.51||30.08||89.87|
|Minimum (S-Oil Corp)||1.56||10.19||18.73||23.15||–10.94||42.69|
|Positional values||Max. Eni||9.37||19.93||23.26||34.37||86.93||Max. Iberdrola||9.37||23.91||26.51||30.08||89.87|
|Min. S-Oil||1.56||10.19||18.73||23.15||–10.94||42.69||Min. Suez En.||6.25||19.04||18.73||18.62||62.64|
|Std dev||2.66||2.93||3.61||2.74||9.63||Std dev||2.24||3.05||3.01||3.61||7.42|
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