Swedish companies improve their digital sustainability communications
For the 25th year in a row, we have ranked the corporate websites of Sweden's 100 largest companies to evaluate how well they meet the needs and expectations of their stakeholders, such as analysts, investors, jobseekers, and the media. This year Swedish companies have improved their sustainability communication but continue to fall behind other countries when communicating with jobseekers.
Sustainability was not a term that was used back in 1997 when we started comparing how companies communicated versus what the stakeholders expected. However, we did rank the companies on a criterion about "the company and the environment". A lot has happened in corporate communications since then, and sustainability and ESG is an area that keeps growing in importance for all stakeholder groups. Sustainability is becoming increasingly important for professional audiences, customers, partners, governments, jobseekers as well as for the general public.
Swedish companies have increased their scores in sustainability this year. The reason for this is that more companies have started to provide not only sustainability strategies and reports but also data and targets. Environmental data is one of the most important types of information, 90 % of respondents of our Capital Market Survey 2021 find it important.
The top performers in this section are also the overall top companies on the Swedish list: Sandvik, new to the Swedish top 3 list, have the highest score in this section, followed by Essity and Swedish Match.
Sandvik's Sustainability section Sustainability section is clearly divided into sections containing key figures regarding their sustainability performance. They also provide data on social sustainability figures such as Health and Safety plus employee data showing age, gender, and other diversity metrics.
Larger companies perform better in the eyes of jobseekers
The average score for information provided to jobseekers continues to be lower than the European average, 34% in Sweden vs 41% in Europe 500, which is comparable to last year's results. However, when only looking at the larger companies (the 49 that are included in the Europe 500 list), the average score is higher at 43%. This can probably be explained by the fact that many of the smaller companies have their operations in Sweden and because of that they provide career information only in Swedish. Nevertheless, with an increasingly international talent market, we argue that companies should provide careers information in more than one language. Information that companies often do not include is about compensation policies and benefits, equality and diversity, as well as employee experience.
Volvo, NCC, and Sandvik are the best performing Swedish companies in this area. Although NCC are not part of the Europe 500 list, they are still good at meeting expectations from jobseekers.
NCC's careers section also contains links to all relevant information directly on the landing page, making it easy for a potential jobseeker to find.
Information about financial outlook and risk management is often lacking
Most companies in Europe struggle to meet the high expectations from the capital market, Sweden is no exception. Swedish Match, however, manage to meet 94% of the core criteria, which is among the best results of all the ranked companies in Europe.
Swedish Match's Investor Relations section contains all necessary information such as detailed share information, interactive financial tables, and clearly presented debt information. The IR contact is also readily available on each page.
Information such as megatrends and outlook is also missing on many Swedish corporate websites, despite the fact that 89% of stakeholders find megatrends important and 95% the financial outlook important.
Another area where Swedish companies should improve is information about risk management, different types of risks, and risk mitigation. This information is of great importance to the stakeholders. Indutrade is an exception who provide examples of many different types of risks and how they are prepared to handle them.
Swedish companies vs European companies
Comparing the results of the 20 largest companies across 14 of the ranked countries, Sweden takes 3rd place with an average score of 54.3 (out of 100), coming just above Austria who scored 54.2. This is an increase for Sweden of 1.3 points since last year. We also see a slight increase for all 100 Swedish companies, as well as for the 500 largest companies in Europe. This shows that companies are becoming better at providing information that is expected by their audiences.
The top performers in Sweden
Swedish Match take first place for the third year in a row. Their results in the IR section are remarkable and they continue to provide many best practice examples. Well done!
Sandvik are new on the podium, increasing their score with 11.4 points, which is an amazing increase! Sandvik's main strengths lie within ESG information. Essity keep third place this year, performing strong in sustainability and reporting. This year's best climber is Beijer Ref who increased their score by 19.8 points, thanks to providing a new website with more information.