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Sustainability Reporting in the Real Estate Industry: Differences in the Reporting Process Between Municipal and Private Companies
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Sustainability and its development has gotten more attention the recent years as trends in society has increased the knowledge about sustainability and demand for transparency. Authorities have therefore taken actions towards a sustainable development and have regulated reporting on the non-financial information, also known as Sustainability Reporting. The Swedish government implemented at the end of 2016 an extension to the Law of Annual Reporting, making it mandatory for larger companies who meet certain criteria to disclose a sustainability report. Thus, making the sustainability reporting more institutional.

 

Previous studies have been done in the field where they have had more focus on the quality of the reports and why companies disclose a sustainability report. Some researchers have studied the transition of going from disclosing the sustainability report voluntary to become mandatory, as it has now become in Sweden. This study therefore intends to look at how a certain industry, the Swedish real estate industry, conduct their reporting on sustainability. The new regulation will be used as guidance together with one of the most prominent frameworks of how to disclose a Sustainability Report, the GRI framework. Furthermore, to understand how companies proceed with their reporting, one must understand their motivation and incentives, which is why the institutional theory will be used.

 

The purpose of the study is to create an understanding of how a certain industry discloses their sustainability report, and therefore it was decided to study the differences between two groups within the industry. More specifically, the differences between private companies and municipal companies owned by the local governments. To guide the research, the following research question was formulated:

 

What are the differences in the process of establishing a sustainability report between privately and publicly owned real estate companies in Sweden?

 

Through doing a qualitative study with a semi-structured approach, the analysis and conclusion was drawn from 16 interviews with different companies. The conclusion was that the process between the sectors was similar to each other. The companies conducted their process in a continuous structure on a yearly basis without any clear step-by-step process. One difference that was discovered was the involvement of the owner. For the private companies, the owner was a passive support and the main motivator for starting to produce a sustainability report. For the public companies, the owners were very much involved in the process and supportive throughout the report. The public companies did also have more cooperation between each other, where they exchanged ideas regarding the report. Private companies benchmarked other companies but did not have the same support from others.

 

The practical contribution of this study will be the new knowledge that is provided on sustainability reporting processes and the difference between to sectors. This thesis gives a better understanding of how to conduct a sustainability report and different steps that can be included. The study is oriented towards the real estate industry and therefore provide a valuable insight on different perspectives from the two groups. The highlighted differences can help improve the process by being evaluated or adapted by different companies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 110
Keywords [en]
Sustainability Reporting, Reporting Process, Real Estate Industry
Keywords [sv]
Hållbarhetsrapportering
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-150637OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-150637DiVA, id: diva2:1239087
Educational program
International Business Program; Study Programme in Business Administration and Economics
Presentation
2018-05-25, 08:00 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-08-16 Created: 2018-08-15 Last updated: 2018-08-16Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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Output format
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