The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES), in conjunction with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), is launching the U.S. Sustainability Reporting Awards program. The purpose of the awards program is to contribute to reporting on sustainability, environmental and social issues by corporations and other organizations across the United States, reward best practice and provide guidance to other entities that are publishing or intend to publish sustainability reports, and increase accountability to stakeholders.
"In an age of Internet-speed transparency, hundreds of companies have invested time and energy into serious reports disclosing their social and environmental impacts and performance," said Robert Kinloch Massie, executive director of CERES. "We are proud to be working with the ACCA, one of the most important and globally-minded accounting organizations in the world. The CERES-ACCA U.S. Sustainability Reporting Awards will accelerate the powerful trend toward disclosure by recognizing innovation and leadership in corporate reporting."
"The ACCA Reporting Awards in the UK, in Ireland, and in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Pakistan and Singapore, reward organizations for excellence in environmental, social and sustainability reporting,Ó said Roger Adams, Executive Director Ð Technical of ACCA. ÒACCA is therefore looking forward to launching the U.S. Awards in partnership with CERES. Together our goal is to promote public reporting activity in the area of sustainable development and to improve the quality of disclosure practices in the United States."
Any U.S.-based company, institution or organization, or the American subsidiary of a non-U.S. company, that produces environmental or sustainability reports is eligible. The first-year awards will be given for reports published in year 2002 for year 2001 performance. Companies may apply on their own behalf or be nominated by others.
The awards are not intended to endorse or reward company performance in any of the three areas, but rather to reward disclosure that places company performance in the broader context of sustainability challenges, risks and opportunities.
A jury of eight to 10 members will include selected CERES coalition members (public interest groups and investors), other leaders on environmental and sustainability issues, experts in environmental and sustainability reporting, and representatives from a broad spectrum of backgrounds (e.g. NGO, policy, religion, investment and academia). The three reporting award categories include Sustainability Reporting, Environmental Reporting and Social Reporting. The same report cannot be entered into more than one category. Criteria used to judge reports are:
Completeness – all significant aspects of environmental, social or economic impacts are presented.
Transparency – clarity in defining and reporting all significant impacts.
Credibility – how well the quality of information allows a judgment on the entity’s actions and processes compared to its stated intentions.
Quality – usefulness of information according to stakeholders’ needs.