You get what you measure: evaluation, reporting and measurement of sustainability in large companies in Italy

Purpose of the paper: This research has the aim to explore which are the main sustainability quantitative tools, how some of the largest companies in Italy quantify their degree of responsibility and if there is a balance between the environmental and the social aspect.

Methodology: This is an explorative study conducted through a content analysis. Three Sustainability Reports published by three large companies (Eni, Fiat and Barilla, selected considering data provided by Mediobanca) have been analyzed, examining in particular the sustainability indicators.

Findings: The study reveals that large companies report their sustainability information following the GRI guidelines, through a series of indicators related both to the environmental and social dimension of sustainability.

Research limits: There are two main limits: firstly the explorative nature of this study, secondly those findings reflect the approach of the largest companies only, which follow the GRI guidelines.

Practical implications: The attention shown by the selected companies demonstrates that sustainability is becoming an increasingly relevant matter for companies, for their relationships with stakeholders and for their reputation as well.

Originality of the paper: Research on sustainability quantification is internationally in a developing phase: its application to an Italian context represents the originality of this study.