October 22, 2020 Webranking

Spanish companies are becoming sustainability leaders but their websites lack investor content

 By Chris Henson

The corporate websites of Spain's largest companies offer a mixed bag of content to their stakeholders. While elements of their sustainability communication are very strong, the sites rarely contain an adequate amount of investor content for the capital market.

In this year’s Webranking by Comprend, we reviewed the corporate websites of the 24 largest companies in Spain by market cap for how closely they meet their stakeholders' needs. The results show a small drop in the average score for the second year in succession, to 39.6 points (out of 100). This is not quite a cause for alarm as scores have been dropping across the continent, in reaction to criteria changes based on modern accessibility standards and heightened stakeholder expectations.

Spain does trail the European average, though, and the drop-off shows that work can be done to deliver a better service to their different user groups. A good place to start is by building up the investor content, as this key communication channel for the capital market is being under-used at the moment. By contrast, Spanish companies are performing well in some aspects of their sustainability communication, which is a real boon considering this information is relevant for all stakeholders from analysts to jobseekers.

Spanish companies see the importance of a sustainability strategy

When looking at how many of the largest 20 companies from 14 European countries present their sustainability strategies, Spain rank second-highest, only marginally behind leaders Germany. All 20 Spanish websites have a strategy in place, and 90% of these come with priorities for action, such as addressing the company's carbon footprint. 75% of the strategies go one step further and embed the company's sustainability efforts within the core business strategy, which shows an awareness that sustainability must be integral for a modern business, both to benefit society and to meet the standards stakeholders expect. We recently wrote on how companies are rising to this challenge across Europe, and Spain are one of the countries at the very forefront of this movement.

Ferrovial are one such company whose sustainability work is outlined in superb detail and clearly aligned with corporate objectives. Their sustainability strategy is called the CSR 20.22 Plan, and it explains the benefits of integrating sustainable initiatives into the business model:

"What was originally conceived as a resource to improve our reputation and create value is now an end goal in itself. We have even taken this a step further and are attempting to implement it into our entire value chain."

Sustainability reports are part of Spanish reporting convention

22 of the 24 ranked Spanish websites either contain a sustainability report or explain that it is integrated into the latest annual report. This is another area where Spanish websites clearly outperform the European average, and show understanding that good sustainability communication is essential for a progressive organisation. 79% of Spanish companies also have an archive containing their previous sustainability reports, making it clear that this facet of their business has been ongoing for several years and enabling stakeholders to explore their efforts over that time. Repsol are a case-in-point for this, with their sustainability reporting archive stretching all the way back to 2005, highlighting the long-term commitment to tackling their impact.

Investor communications hits a low point

By contrast, when comparing the Investor Relations of the largest 20 companies across 14 ranked European countries, Spain come out second last with just a 20% fulfilment of the key information. Only Russia, whose companies average the lowest overall scores in Europe, perform more poorly than Spain in this area. The weakest aspect of Spanish investor communications is debt information, and specifically key debt ratios. These ratios are valuable instruments for investors and analysts looking to measure a company's financial strength, and yet only 5 of the 24 ranked Spanish companies present any information on them at all.

Bankia are the sole Spanish company to score fully in this area, as they provide their updated loan-to-deposit ratio, liquidity coverage ratio, and net stable funding ratio directly in the website's fixed income section.

Spain's winners and the biggest climber

Repsol maintains its dominance by topping the Spain list as it has done since the very first Spanish ranking. This latest triumph is achieved by a significant margin thanks to their outstanding score of 72.5 points. ArcelorMittal moves up to 2nd, with Ferrovial narrowly behind in 3rd, as they reach the podium following the launch of an excellent new site. Spain's best climber is BBVA, whose content work saw an improvement of a very impressive 12.1 points in a year when most companies experienced a score decrease.

Spanish bank Bankia were not included in the official ranking this year but requested to be included, which any company is eligible to do. Their score, while not officially listed, is 69.4, highlighting that they are another company in Spain delivering an extremely strong service to their stakeholders.

RankCompanyScore (out of 100)
1Repsol72.5
2ArcelorMittal54.1
3Ferrovial52.6
4Telefónica51.4
5Airbus49.6
6BBVA48.8
7Iberdrola44.6
8CaixaBank39.9
9Santander39.5
10Inditex39.0


See the full Spanish results

Helena Wennergren

Head of Research

helena.wennergren@comprend.com

+46 70 971 12 10

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