There has been a dramatic uptake of sustainability reporting (SR) and sustainability management practices over the last two decades, in turn raising questions about the relationship between external disclosure and internal practice of corporate sustainability. Previous literature has emphasized the role of external pressures in driving SR adoption. However, as recent practitioner surveys also identify the existence of internal motives for SR, a more comprehensive analysis of this relationship is needed.
In order to address this issue, we develop a framework accounting for four company-level SR configurations, resulting from different levels of importance of external and internal motives for SR. Then, four exploratory cases serve to illustrate these configurations and to describe the respective roles of SR at the company level. As considerable diversity among these SR practices is found, our findings point to the relevance of both external and internal motives in understanding SR contribution to corporate sustainability. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment