GE Corporation Wins Ceres-ACCA North American Awards for Best Sustainability Reporting

Source: CERES, 22 April 2009

GE Corporation received the top sustainability reporting award today at the 2009 Ceres Conference in San Francisco, California, as part of international competition organized by the Boston-based Ceres coalition and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). The winners, selected from 97 nominations, also included Seventh Generation, Ball Corporation, Symantec, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), and Dell, Inc.

Now in its eighth year, the awards program is designed to highlight best practices in reporting on sustainability issues by North American organizations, and to provide guidance to other groups and companies that are publishing or intend to publish sustainability or corporate social responsibility reports.

"Transparent and honest disclosure that illustrates the full costs of environmental and social impacts and their integration into business strategies will level the playing field and provide investors with the information they need to reward, or penalize, companies on their sustainability performance," said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres. "The Ceres-ACCA reporting awards set an example for companies to follow as sustainability reporting becomes a bigger priority for shareholders and other stakeholders."

"Recognition of the importance and benefits of sustainability reporting continue to increase and the leadership of these companies provide an example for others to emulate," said Paul Costello, head of ACCA Canada and US.

This year there were 97 entries from North American companies and organizations. From these, 19 entries were short-listed, including
Starbucks, Intel, and Vancity.

The winners were selected by an 11-person independent panel of judges representing a broad spectrum of backgrounds in the nonprofit, corporate and investment worlds. The judging criteria focused on completeness, credibility, and effectiveness of communication.

This year;s award winners are:

Best Sustainability Report
GE Corporation, Fairfield, Connecticut

The 2007-08 Citizenship Report from GE provides a complete picture of how the company’s sustainability priorities are aligned with the company’s strategic business priorities. The report also presents these priorities in the context of emerging global challenges including climate change and energy, globalization, human rights, water scarcity, and the subprime mortgage crisis.

Best SME Report
Seventh Generation, Burlington, Vermont

The 2007 Corporate Consciousness Report explores the company’s vision for a "Sustainable and Restorative" business model and reflects upon the challenges and complexities inherent to long-term sustainability for Seventh Generation, the industry, and greater society. The report is innovatively communicated through a web-based e-book, which incorporates video, blogs, and hyperlinks to the company’s website.

Best First Time Report (co-winner)
Ball Corporation, Broomfield, Colorado

The 2007 Sustainability Report comprehensively describes Ball’s approach to sustainability and highlights the company’s five key sustainability priorities. The report also details the company’s strategy for producing sustainable packaging and links the company’s need for an increased supply of recycled metals and plastics for its products with Ball’s efforts to increase community recycling infrastructure and support for community participation in recycling.

Best First Time Report (co-winner)
Symantec, Cupertino, California

Symantec’s 2008 Corporate Responsibility Report discloses the company’s materiality analysis and stakeholder engagement processes and includes a materiality matrix illustrating the issues and impacts of priority to the company. The report also incorporates innovative online communication mediums, including a podcast that presents the business case rationale for reporting, as well as candid discussion of the company’s experience and challenges as a first time reporter.

Commendation for Innovative Reporting
Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC)

The Vancouver Organizing Committee’s Sustainability Report serves as a planning tool for making the 2010 Olympic Games more sustainable and is a clear example for how other project-based entities can and should address sustainability. The report details the Committee’s approach to stakeholder engagement and the process of prioritizing engagement of Aboriginal people. The report also discloses the Committee’s sustainable procurement strategy, including the environmental, social, and aboriginal objectives considered for purchasing decisions.

Commendation for Emerging Issues Reporting
Dell Inc., Austin, Texas

Dell’s sustainability report identifies several emerging issues that are not only important to Dell, but the industry, including supply chain, HIV/AIDS, mining, nanomaterials, and retail. The report provides thoughtful insight into how the company prioritizes sustainability issues, including details of why an issue is of material interest to Dell and a description of what the company is doing to integrate the relevant risks and opportunities into Dell’s business strategy.