45 sustainability reports remain in the running for unique and innovative honor

Source: Global Reporting Initiative, 11 April 2008

The finishing line is in sight: Global Reporting Initiative Readers’ Choice Awards Finalists Revealed. Winners to be announced in Amsterdam, 7 May.
For the past five years jury-based award programs for sustainability reports have put the same
handful of companies at the top of the tables. But now readers and stakeholders have had the chance to express their opinion – thanks to a new process of online scoring of sustainability reports.

“This is the first time the world will hear the readers’ voices”; said Ernst Ligteringen, Chief Executive, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). “The level of interest shows that readers do take companies’ sustainability reports seriously. Investors, civil society organizations, employees and other stakeholders have taken this opportunity to express what they like and don’t like about reporting today.

In total, over 1,700 people in 70 countries cast over 6,000 scores for reports entered in the inaugural GRI Readers Choice Awards. Readers could make use of the website in five languages, enabling people from all around the world to express their views.The field of 800 reports has now been pared down to only 45, which received the highest number of scores relative to the total scores cast2. This makes the results meaningful and fair. The winner in each of eight categories will be announced at the awards dinner ceremony on May 7 during The Amsterdam Global Conference on Transparency and Sustainability.

“We are surprised and delighted with the results thus far” said Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel, former Director, Industry and Environment Office and Assistant Executive Director of UNEP. Aloisi chaired the Readers Choice Awards Integrity Committee, a group of eight prominent experts who oversaw the awards process to ensure it was conducted with the highest degree of integrity and free from fraud. “The people have spoken” she continued, “and new voices have risen all over the world. This reflects the growing importance of sustainability reporting and the active role of stakeholders globally.”

Alongside the awards voting process, leading trend monitors KPMG and SustainAbility were
commissioned to undertake a global survey of sustainability report users’ expectations and needs. The Global Readers’ Survey Report will be revealed on May 8. Wim Bartels, Partner at KPMG said: “We were really excited to take part, this survey is a big new step in sustainability reporting, it turns the reporting community’s attention to their audience, and some may be surprised by the results.” Together, the awards and the survey report will answer the question: Does any one read these reports and, if so, what do they really think?

The conference, May 7 – 9, will attract over 1,000 participants to discuss and debate the evolution of sustainability reporting. WEB: www.globalreporting.org/NewsEventsPress/Conference2008/.