Vancity Group and Bristol-Myers Squibb received the top sustainability reporting awards today in an international competition hosted by the Boston-based Ceres coalition and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). The winners, selected from a record 102 nominations, also included Vermont-based Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Vancouver, B.C.-based Mountain Equipment Co-op. The four winners were announced at the Ceres annual conference today at Boston’s Seaport Hotel, where a report providing guidance to companies on sustainability disclosure was also released.
The Ceres-ACCA North American awards program, now in its sixth year, is designed recognize and encourage exemplary reporting on sustainability issues by corporations and other organizations across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and to provide guidance to other groups and companies that are publishing or intend to publish corporate sustainability reports.
"These winnings reports are the best of the best in articulating sustainability strategies, setting clear targets and identifying actions and areas that need improvement," said Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres, a national coalition of investors, companies and environmental groups.
"We know we aren’t perfect," says Dave Mowat, CEO of award recipient Vancity Group. "We set incredibly high standards for ourselves. This document gives us a report card on how we are doing, allows us to see potential issues and opportunities that may be on the horizon, and helps us build trust with our members, employees, and communities."
"We are proud to recognize the innovation and leadership these companies have demonstrated in recognizing the importance of improved non-financial reporting," said Lynn Beauregard, Administrative Director and Head of ACCA Canada. "We encourage others to follow their lead."
The winners were selected by a diverse panel of 14 judges who focused on the reports’ completeness, credibility and effectiveness of communication. As part of todays awards ceremony, Ceres and ACCA also released the Report of the Judges, which highlighted the state of the art in sustainability reporting, as well as areas in need of improvement, including continued inadequate disclosure by companies on climate risk, lobbying activities and product responsibility.
This year’s award winners are:
Best Sustainability Report
Vancity Group, Vancouver, British Columbia: Vancity’s winning 2004-2005 Accountability Report is an example of consolidated sustainability reporting, combining Vancity and Citizens Banks sustainability reports into one. The report sets future targets and action plans and holds a member of Vancitys executive team accountable for each target. The report also provides an update on 44 targets and action plans set in 2004-2005.
For advice in preparing its report, Vancity invited 26 community leaders and members from across Canada to comment on the reports credibility, completeness, and responsiveness. Vancity also worked with stakeholders to set aggressive targets, invited external auditors to check how the organization is doing against these targets, report back the results – both good and bad, and verify that the report was prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative.
First Runner-Up: Best Sustainability Report
Bristol-Myers Squibb, New York: Bristol-Myers Squibb’s web-based sustainability report clearly identifies the material sustainability issues affecting the company, including: governance and compliance, serious diseases with unmet medical needs, intellectual property and pricing, access to medicines and healthcare, and energy and water conservation.
The report benchmarks Bristol-Myers Squibb’s environmental performance against that of its competitors and discloses donations made by the company to all political candidates, parties, and political action committees.
Co-Winner: Best First-Time Sustainability Report
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Waterbury, VT: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters 2005 Corporate Social Responsibility Report discusses the complexities of the companys coffee-sourcing activities in a clear and engaging manner. The report also includes data from previous years to provide historical context, expressed in meaningful percentages and ratios. The report provides a thoughtful analysis of employee compensation, one of the few reports to address this issue.
Co-Winner: Best First-Time Sustainability Report
Mountain Equipment Co-op, Vancouver, BC: Mountain Equipment Co-op’s inaugural Accountability Report has helped the cooperative develop a reporting system and the capacity to measure and understand its performance. The report conveys the cooperative’s commitment to transparency through full disclosure of non-compliance in its supply chain and of the material issues affecting the cooperative. The report also included the results of a series of employee engagement surveys and discusses employee satisfaction, turnover rates, and fair compensation.