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Green Signage and CSR: Duty of Reporting

With the EU’s new CSRD rules, many digital signage companies will have to report on their sustainability efforts in the future. Some have already gained experience, others are facing a new challenge.

It is not every day that Germany’s leading news site Spiegel Online bashes sustainability efforts. But when it recently titled an article “The Madness of Sustainability Reports,” it certainly struck a chord with many business leaders.

The article referred to the new EU Directive on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which came into force at the beginning of the year. 50,000 companies will gradually be obliged to produce a sustainability report as part of their regular financial reporting over the next few years. Reporting will require new ways of working and additional resources – and will be perceived by many as a burden, even if it can be successfully integrated into a company’s overarching strategies.

On top of that, for many organizations, it will be also a first in general reporting on sustainability, without any test driving of environmental or other sustainability reporting to lean on. While it will be a tough awakening for some, others have already made the first steps.

Different starting points

In the digital signage industry, the sustainability maturity ladder is straightforward. If you look at the sustainability reports of the industry, the big hardware companies are by far at the top: because they are large, global and close to the end user. They have installed proper routines to measure their carbon footprint, defined a net-zero path and installed comprehensive reporting. You can take a look at LG’s 100 sustainability pages or Samsung’s 128, both are an impressive collection of data and strategies to absorb.

About the Author

Daniel Oelker is the Green Signage expert of invidis. The invidis impact partner and former Zetadisplay CCO analyses the industry regarding its sustainability impact and writes regularly about the advancements on invidis.com

Moving on to larger international integrators and agencies, we can see that they have all started reporting, but at very different speeds. While Zetadisplay, Cancom, Omnicom and First Impression are already measuring carbon footprints, others are providing more general information on certifications or corporate governance.

Medium-sized national integrators have more catching up to do. They usually deal with sustainability requirements when participating in larger tenders or when forced to do so by international customers in their annual supplier evaluations. This is a consequence of the typical behavior in this segment, which is to solve the challenge in an entrepreneurial way and on a case-by-case basis.

Big potential in the software sector

However, the biggest surprise in our limited analysis of the industry was the software sector. The maturity of the segment is rather low, with only Broadsign having embraced sustainability as a strategic challenge and implemented a comprehensive program. Other larger players are looking at sustainability but have not yet started. All lack proper reporting routines, whether voluntarily to demonstrate that the organization is taking the issue seriously, or on demand to meet regulatory or customer requirements.

As a result of the ongoing consolidation of the industry and increased demands from end customers (who will need to evaluate their supplier base), the pressure in terms of sustainability will increase dramatically on the digital signage industry.

If we believe in the fact that we are in a business-critical industry, the topic should be on every company’s agenda. With greater importance comes greater responsibility.