Sustainability Reporting and Interactive Storytelling: A Genre Approach for Humanising Business

Corazza, L.; Antonini, A.; Dumay, J. and Cisi, M. (2022). Sustainability Reporting and Interactive Storytelling: A Genre Approach for Humanising Business. In: Dion, M.; Freeman, R. E. and Dmytriyev, S. D. eds. Humanizing Business. Issues in Business Ethics, 53. Springer, Cham, pp. 573–590.



In recent years, financial accounting has seen a trend toward reporting in the form of narratives, while sustainability disclosures are increasingly falling under the influence of numerical reductionism. An all-pervasive mantra of succinctness and investor-oriented messaging is dominating communications on sustainability through all but a few of the international reporting frameworks, and stakeholders are being removed from a discourse that is itself disappearing. This chapter sets out one possible ending to Freeman et al.’s (Bus Soc, May 2018) quest to bring stakeholders back to the core of accounting narratives. Grounded in the literature on sustainability accounting and relevant studies in the field of human-data interactions, this chapter explores how interactive storytelling can be a way to overcome excessive succinctness and engage stakeholders as both readers and actors in sustainability reporting. Interactive storytelling applied to sustainability reporting creates a new literary genre. It establishes personal engagement and allows the reader to explore data and discover information, making sustainability reports a fruitful tool for humanizing business communications.

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