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Sustainabilty Information from Swedish Tourism Companies – What, Where and for Whom?

Proceeding: 5th International Conference on Innovation Management, Entrepreneurship and Sustainability (IMES)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 916-928

Keywords : sustainability information; sustainability report; tourism service providers; environmental sustainability; social sustainability;

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Within the tourism industry, there is a considerable focus on sustainable tourism. One way for tourism service providers to address these issues and present their sustainability work is through annual reports, sustainability reports and homepages. Sustainability report is a way for tourism companies to be more legitimate and accountable toward their stakeholders. The research objective, with this study, was to investigate and analyze Swedish tourism service providers’ sustainability information. What kind of sustainability information is presented? Where is the sustainability information presented and for whom?Design/methodology/approach: The data for this study was collected mainly during December 2015-February 2016. The research design was constructed as a qualitative explorative study on tourism companies and how they present their work with sustainability (economic, social and environmental) for their stakeholders. Data was collected from 50 different tourism companies in Sweden from their annual reports, sustainability reports and their home pages. They are large-sized tourism companies with a yearly turnover between 5-50 million euros.Findings: The result shows that what they present is often focused on social or environmental sustainability (not both dimensions). The tourism service providers are all presenting economic sustainability since they must do an annual report yearly. Another conclusion is that they do not use sustainability report as their communication channel to show accountability and legitimacy to their stakeholders. Home pages are used mostly for presenting their sustainability work despite that there are large differences between how much information from the companies. The stakeholders seem to be mainly the customers.Research/practical implications: It still seems like that many tourism companies do not see the benefits in sustainable tourism. If tourism companies want to be legitimate and accountable concerning sustainability they have the possibility to present more information about their sustainable information to stakeholders and conduct even more efforts on sustainability issues in their everyday business life. It would be interesting to make interviews to gain more insight in what they want to communicate to their stakeholders concerning their sustainability work. It would also be interesting to compare with other countries and culture concerning tourist companies’ sustainability work and their communication to stakeholders.Originality/value: The main value of this paper is that the study focuses on large sized tourism companies that must present a sustainability report from 2017. The European Union has decided to make it mandatory for large sized companies to present sustainability reports in 2017 and this study is therefore interesting since it shows their sustainability work before this law is implemented.

Last modified: 2017-09-02 23:13:50