BT has won the top accolade at ACCA’s (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) annual UK Awards for Sustainability Reporting today. ACCA also commended seven other organisations for their reports on the environmental, social and wider economic impacts of their activities at the 2007 ceremony at the British Library, in London .
The judges, selected for their diverse stakeholder representation, said BT won the first prize for a number of reasons, including its transparent disclosures on its overall strategy along with the key CSR risks and opportunities for the business. The Group was also praised for its efforts to outline the business case for CSR, describe how key material issues are selected for reporting and include stakeholder feedback in the form of a detailed statement from its stakeholder panel.
Unilever was runner up for the main prize. Vodafone, last year’s overall winner, was praised for its disclosures on public policy, lobbying and taxation, and BP for its transparency in approach to assurance. There was a joint commendation for SME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) reporting for Shared Interest (a co-operative lending society that aims to reduce poverty in the world, by providing financial services) and Traidcraft (the UK ‘s leading fair trade organisation).
Winner of the electronic media commendation was BHP Billiton, whose web-based report was praised for its user-friendly navigation, credibility, functionality and wealth of narrative information. Runner-up was Centrica.
Roger Adams, Executive Director – Technical, at ACCA, said: "We were particularly encouraged to see some new SME entrants this year. This sector is often accused of not being interested in sustainability issues but we were impressed by the quality of entries. More generally, the broadest-ever range of companies in this year’s field shows that good reporting in this area really is becoming essential for all organisations. Stakeholders, whether financial or not, want to see sustainability being embedded in business strategy, not just being treated as an add-on."
Strengthening the link between sustainability strategy and governance was the theme of this year’s awards. ACCA’s partner in this is Tomorrow’s Company, who carried out separate research into the issue.
Mark Goyder , Director, Tomorrow’s Company, said: "Following our recent inquiry on Tomorrow’s Global Company it is now increasingly accepted that a well-led company searches for every opportunity to redefine its success, to create products and do business in ways that better reflect the needs of society and the planet. Yet we could only find seven out of the 76 sustainability reporting submissions that really pulled together strategy and governance in an integrated way. It is an eye opener on how far we have to go."
The full list of awards and commendations for 2007:
Winner, Best report – BT
Runner up – Unilever
Commendation for disclosure on public policy, lobbying and taxation – Vodafone
Commendation for transparency in approach to assurance – BP
Joint Commendation for SME reporting – Traidcraft and Shared Interest Ltd
Winner, Electronic media Commendation – BHP Billiton
Runner up – Centrica