Ceres and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) presented reporting awards to five companies at the first Ceres-ACCA U.S. Sustainability Reporting Awards program in New York Cit
The purpose of the awards program is to reward best practice in reporting on sustainability - environmental, economic and social -- issues by corporations based in the United States, to provide guidance to other entities that are publishing or intend to publish sustainability reports, and to increase corporate accountability on those issues.
In this first year, Ceres and ACCA received applications from 19 companies for sustainability, environmental and social reports that were published in 2002 for year 2001 performance. A 5-person judges' panel met in February to select the award winners. The judging criteria focused on completeness, credibility and effectiveness of communication.
The awards winners are:
Joint Winners - Outstanding Sustainability Reporting
Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc. Chiquita Brands International, Inc.
Outstanding Environmental Reporting
Bristol Myers Squibb Company
Commendation for Environmental Reporting
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD)
Outstanding First Time Reporting
Wisconsin Energy Corp.
Ceres Executive Director Mindy Lubber explained the importance of reporting as a first step to corporate progress on environmental and social issues.
"At Ceres we've found that what gets measured gets managed, and that reporting on these issues is a way for companies to assess where they stand, what the issues are, and where they need to make improvements," Lubber said. "A decade ago, you wouldn't find this information anywhere, and certainly not from the companies themselves. We've come a long way, but still have a long way to go to the point when providing this information is standard practice. We were particularly pleased at the number of companies who have reported using the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines."
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), initiated by Ceres, was launched last year at the United Nations as a global standard-setting body for reporting guidelines on sustainability issues. The GRI is now an independent institution based in Amsterdam.
Rachel Jackson, Social & Environmental Manager at ACCA, said: "After ten years of UK Environmental Reporting Awards and six years of the European scheme, we are pleased to collaborate with Ceres to establish a reporting awards program for US-based companies. Companies are under mounting pressure from investors, governments, NGOs and other stakeholders to demonstrate their efforts to manage the effects of their operations. Public environmental, social and sustainability reporting is now the main route through which corporate accountability and integrity can be demonstrated."
Lubber clarified that the award did not reward company behavior, only company efforts to report on issues such as labor practices, water and energy use, and "This award does not judge whether the companies are in fact employing sustainable business practices," Lubber said. "Rather, it recognizes companies' efforts at transparency in assembling and reporting this information. These are companies who have taken this enormously important first step in a way that will provide useful information to everyone concerned about these issues." Ceres and ACCA have published a Report of the Judges that will be posted in the Ceres and ACCA web sites.