Need for sustainability reporting highlighted by ACCA awards

Source: ACCA, 18 February 2004

While calls from MPs to make social and environmental reporting mandatory have not yet been answered by the government, ACCA will be rewarding some of those organisations that have engaged in voluntary reporting at the annual ACCA UK Awards for Sustainability Reporting 2003 ceremony, which will take place on 24 February 2004 at the British Library.
Rachel Jackson, Head of Social and Environmental Issues at ACCA, said: "The government has recently told supporters of a private member´s bill on this subject "to be patient a little longer". However, ACCA fears that many companies may exclude social and environmental data from their Operating and Financial Reviews (OFRs) if their boards do not consider it "material" to mainstream shareholders. We believe it is essential that large companies produce reports on the environmental and social impact of their business operations so that stakeholders´ concerns are not overlooked. So we are delighted to have received strong entries into our awards scheme this year."

The Awards ¿ for Environmental, Social and Sustainability (both social and environmental) Reporting – will be presented by Elliot Morley MP, Minister for Environment and Agri-Environment, DEFRA. All electronic entries will automatically and additionally be submitted into the fourth category – Electronic Media Commendation.

Also speaking at the ceremony is Baroness Barbara Young, Chief Executive, Environment Agency, who will discuss the importance of environmental reporting and transparency to UK business. In addition, Rosemary Radcliffe CBE, Chair of the OFR Working Group – which has submitted its findings and recommendations to the government on what information should be included in companies’ new OFRs – will present on the possible implications of the OFR for business and the future role of stand-alone environmental and sustainability reporting.

Rachel Jackson said: "With questions of ethics and trust currently at the forefront of business and political debate, it is vital that stakeholders¿ interests are not compromised. Sustainability reporting acts as a key driver of good corporate social responsibility performance and plays a vital role in improving not just communication, but also credibility and trust between organisations and their stakeholders. It also provides a clear framework to allow shareholders and investors to compare companies on their CSR standing and track performance year on year. Crucially, sustainability reports also highlight areas of poor performance.

"The aim of ACCA´s awards is to reward transparency and to give recognition to those organisations which report and disclose environmental, social or sustainability information in the most complete and credible way. We do not reward rhetoric and look instead for organisations which address their key impacts and provide demonstrable examples of change and progress."


Notes to Editors

The shortlist of entrants is below.


Sustainability reporting category
BAA plc; BHP Billiton; BT Group plc; National Grid Transco; Premier Oil; ScottishPower; Shell International; The Co-operative Bank

Environmental reporting category
3re Group (SME); Boots Group plc; GlaxoSmithKline; NHS Purchasing & Supply Agency; Royal Mail Group plc (FT); Smiths Group plc (FT); The Beacon Press (SME)

Social reporting category
British American Tobacco plc; BNFL (FT); Camelot Group plc; CIS; FRC Group (SME); Hammerson Plc (FT & SME); Traidcraft (SME)

Electronic Media Commendation
BT Group plc; The Co-operative Bank; British American Tobacco plc; Powergen

(FT) – First-time reporter
(SME) – Small or medium sized reporter