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Sustainability Report Readability and its Impact on Stakeholders' Comprehension

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LT3
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ARCHIVE
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InterComm
Abstract
While the financially-oriented corporate annual report is directed at a fairly specialised readership of shareholders, the sustainability reporting potentially targets the much wider audience of stakeholders in the company’s operations in general (Sacconi 2004; Sheikh Abu Bakar & Ameer 2010). As previous research has frequently described the average reading ease score for financial reporting as too difficult for its intended audience (see Courtis 1998, Li 2008 and Bayerlein 2010 inter alia), the question of how accessible sustainability reporting is becomes doubly important given how its similarity in genre to the former contrasts with their potential disparity in intended audience. The sparse research already conducted on the readability of sustainability reporting marks it, like the financial report, as a relatively inaccessible genre using computer-assisted automated readability analysis (Farewell 2014). In this presentation, I will further explore the field by applying a wide range of readability formulae to a diverse corpus of sustainability reports and both financially- and sustainability-oriented CEO and Chairman’s letters. The analysis will not only focus on general readability, it will also examine the impact of variables such as industry and variety of English on reading ease and estimate the effect of these reports’ readability on comprehensibility for stakeholders via a comparison with informant-based readability scores.
Keywords
NLP, Sustainability Report, Readability

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Citation

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Chicago
Smeuninx, Nils, Bernard De Clerck, Veronique Hoste, and Walter Aerts. 2014. “Sustainability Report Readability and Its Impact on Stakeholders’ Comprehension.” In Digital Trends in (Applied) Linguistics, Literature and Translation Studies. Belgian Association of Anglicists in Higher Education.
APA
Smeuninx, N., De Clerck, B., Hoste, V., & Aerts, W. (2014). Sustainability Report Readability and its Impact on Stakeholders’ Comprehension. Digital Trends in (Applied) Linguistics, Literature and Translation Studies. Presented at the Digital Trends in (Applied) Linguistics, Literature and Translation Studies, Belgian Association of Anglicists in Higher Education.
Vancouver
1.
Smeuninx N, De Clerck B, Hoste V, Aerts W. Sustainability Report Readability and its Impact on Stakeholders’ Comprehension. Digital Trends in (Applied) Linguistics, Literature and Translation Studies. Belgian Association of Anglicists in Higher Education; 2014.
MLA
Smeuninx, Nils, Bernard De Clerck, Veronique Hoste, et al. “Sustainability Report Readability and Its Impact on Stakeholders’ Comprehension.” Digital Trends in (Applied) Linguistics, Literature and Translation Studies. Belgian Association of Anglicists in Higher Education, 2014. Print.
@inproceedings{7197300,
  abstract     = {While the financially-oriented corporate annual report is directed at a fairly specialised readership of shareholders, the sustainability reporting potentially targets the much wider audience of stakeholders in the company{\textquoteright}s operations in general (Sacconi 2004; Sheikh Abu Bakar \& Ameer 2010). As previous research has frequently described the average reading ease score for financial reporting as too difficult for its intended audience (see Courtis 1998, Li 2008 and Bayerlein 2010 inter alia), the question of how accessible sustainability reporting is becomes doubly important given how its similarity in genre to the former contrasts with their potential disparity in intended audience.
The sparse research already conducted on the readability of sustainability reporting marks it, like the financial report, as a relatively inaccessible genre using computer-assisted automated readability analysis (Farewell 2014). In this presentation, I will further explore the field by applying a wide range of readability formulae to a diverse corpus of sustainability reports and both financially- and sustainability-oriented CEO and Chairman{\textquoteright}s letters. The analysis will not only focus on general readability, it will also examine the impact of variables such as industry and variety of English on reading ease and estimate the effect of these reports{\textquoteright} readability on comprehensibility for stakeholders via a comparison with informant-based readability scores.},
  author       = {Smeuninx, Nils and De Clerck, Bernard and Hoste, Veronique and Aerts, Walter},
  booktitle    = {Digital Trends in (Applied) Linguistics, Literature and Translation Studies},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Antwerp, Belgium},
  publisher    = {Belgian Association of Anglicists in Higher Education},
  title        = {Sustainability Report Readability and its Impact on Stakeholders' Comprehension},
  url          = {https://www.uantwerpen.be/images/uantwerpen/container23192/files/BAAHE\%202014\%20(Abstracts).pdf},
  year         = {2014},
}