Nike Inc. and Hewlett-Packard have received the top sustainability reporting awards in an international competition sponsored by the Boston-based Ceres coalition and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). The winners, selected from a record 87 nominations, also included Seventh Generation in Burlington, Vt., Dofasco in Hamilton, Ontario, and Gap Inc. in San Francisco, Calif. The five winners were announced at the Ceres annual conference at the Oakland Marriott.
The Ceres-ACCA North American awards program, now in its fifth year, is designed to highlight best practices in reporting on sustainability issues by North American companies and other organizations, and to provide guidance to other groups and companies that are publishing or intend to publish sustainability or corporate social responsibility reports.
"Sustainability reporting is the driver, the lynchpin, to improving corporate performance on sustainability challenges such as workplace conditions or global climate change," said Mindy S. Lubber, president at Ceres, a national coalition of investors and environmental groups. "These winning reports are the best of the best in articulating sustainability strategies setting clear targets, and identifying actions and areas that need improvement. Ceres is proud to recognize the innovation and leadership these companies have all demonstrated and we encourage more businesses to follow their lead."
Selected by a panel of 11 judges who focused on the reports’ completeness, credibility and effectiveness of communication, the award winners are:
Best Sustainability Report (Co-Winners)
Nike Inc., Beaverton, Ore.: Nike’s winning 2004 Corporate Responsibility Report included unprecedented disclosure about the names and locations of the more than 700 active contract factories that currently make Nike-branded products worldwide. The report also discusses the impact of environmental performance on the company’s product design and manufacture, and candidly discusses the challenges and unresolved complexities of monitoring as a mechanism for measuring company and contractor performance.
For advice in preparing its report, Nike invited experts from trade union, NGO, academic, investor and business communities acting in their capacities as individuals to participate in a Report Review Committee. Convened by Ceres, the committee provided feedback that helped establish the scope, coverage and focus for the company’s report.
Hewlett-Packard, Palo Alto, Calif.: For a second consecutive year, HP has won the award for best sustainability report. Its 2005 Global Citizenship Report identifies the company’s three primary sustainability challenges: electronic waste reduction, improving environmental and social performance in its extensive supply chain, and increasing global access to information technology. The report also presents the companys global reach and overall performance, in contrast to many other reports that focus exclusively on North American issues and impacts.
Best Small and Medium Enterprise Report
Seventh Generation, Burlington,Vt: Seventh Generations Corporate Responsibility Report, Widening the Lens, is a pioneering effort in transparency for a privately-owned company. In addition to describing the companys extensive stakeholder engagement efforts, the report includes candid employee testimonials revealing how the company responded to various challenges to its commitment to social and environmental responsibility. The report also details how life-cycle analysis impacts its product design, and describes the company’s efforts to motivate its suppliers to meet sustainability goals. Seventh Generation is the nations leading marketer of non-toxic, environmentally safe household and personal care products.
Commendation for Continued Excellence in Integrated Reporting
Dofasco Inc., Hamilton, Ontario: For the third straight year, Dofasco has taken the unusual step of integrating sustainability reporting into its Annual Report. Employing this approach reinforces Dofasco’s message to its shareholders that sustainability is a core part of its business strategy and that the company’s social and environmental performance are just as important as the companys fiscal performance. The report details the companys performance in energy use, air and water quality, waste use and management of secondary materials, and includes an open letter from community stakeholders. Dofasco is Canadas largest steel producer, serving customers throughout North America.
Commendation for Continued Excellence in Social Reporting
Gap Inc., San Francisco, Calif.: Gap was once again awarded for excellence in social reporting. As in its 2003 Social Responsibility Report, Gap reports on its progress and challenges in implementing a social responsibility program throughout its retail apparel and garment manufacturing supply chain. The report also describes the companys diverse range of stakeholder partnerships that influence its program implementation, and includes an external stakeholder statement.
Julie Gorte, vice president and chief social investment strategist at the Calvert Group, presented the top award to Nike and Hewlett-Packard at a ceremony today at the Ceres Annual Conference in Oakland. "While I commend all of the winners of this years awards for their outstanding efforts at disclosure and transparency, Nike and Hewlett Packard deserve special recognition for their efforts," said Gorte, a Ceres board member. "By revealing its factory list, Nike has shown its commitment to shaping labor standards around the world, and to creating a norm where responsibility and competitiveness go hand-in-hand. And Hewlett-Packard, once again, has produced a report that serves as an excellent benchmark for companies seeking to enhance the quality and credibility of their non-financial reporting."
"Each year we see more companies striving to increase accountability to their stakeholders by investing time and energy into sustainability reports that disclose their social and environmental impacts and performance," said Nigel Hall of ACCA. "This year the number of reports submitted to the judges increased by nearly 30%. We are pleased to see an upward trend toward improved disclosure and transparency in North America."