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July 27, 2009

Entertainment Sector Lags Behind Other Industries in Environmental and Social Reporting
    by Robert Kropp

Report from the Roberts Environmental Center awards no points for environmental performance to any of 14 entertainment companies surveyed. -- In a report entitled 2009 Entertainment Sector Analysis, the Roberts Environmental Center, an environmental research institute at Claremont McKenna College, analyzed the social responsibility reporting efforts of the world's leading entertainment companies. For the report, the Center analyzed almost 1,800 corporate sustainability documents of companies on the Fortune Global 500 and Fortune 500 Entertainment sector lists.

Observing in her introductory comment that "The entertainment sector lags behind most others in corporate environmental and sustainability reporting," Bukola Jimoh, the lead analyst for the report, wrote that entertainment companies "must clarify their environmental and social policies, develop programs and management systems that promote these policies, and begin reporting the necessary quantitative data, along with explicit numerical goals."

While a majority of the entertainment companies surveyed for the report has published an environmental visionary statement, few actually report on the major environmental issues. Consumption of renewable energy was reported by slightly more than 20% of companies, and most of the other environmental issues were reported by less than 10%. Only four of the 14 companies surveyed received points for environmental reporting, and no company received points for environmental performance.

According to the report, "Environmental performance scores are based on whether or not the firm has improved its performance on each of the topics discussed under the heading of environmental reporting, and on whether the quality of the performance is better than that of the firmís peers."

Of the companies surveyed, Walt Disney placed highest in environmental intent and reporting.

The companies performed better on issues of social intent and reporting. More than half have published a code of conduct or business ethics, and a social visionary statement. A majority also report on such social issues as equal opportunity, bribery, anti-corruption, employee voluntarism, sexual harassment, and political contributions. The highest-performing company on social intent and issues was Bertelsmann.

On social performance, which is defined by the report as "scores are based on improvement, performance better than the sector average, or statements of compliance with established social standards," CBS received the highest score.

Overall, the report found that Bertelsmann was the highest-performing entertainment company, followed by CBS and Walt Disney. The lowest overall scores were by Warner Music Group, Univision Communications, and Live Nation.

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