primary goals were identified in 2003 when the Coalition for Environmentally
Responsible Economies (CERES) partnered with the Association of
Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) to organize the first annual
Sustainability Reporting Awards. The first was to encourage better
reporting of social, economic and environmental performance by corporations
and organizations in the U.S. and Canada. The second goal: to reward
best practices and provide guidance to others. Thirdly, organizers
wanted to increase accountability and responsiveness. In other words,
the awards aim to encourage and reward transparency rather than
CERES and ACCA recently announced the winners of the most recent
awards program, given to reports on year 2002 performance that were
published in 2003. Of the 48 reports submitted, the eight-person
judges panel chose five to receive awards. Expressing appreciation
for the substantial efforts of all the entrants that prepared and
submitted reports, judges commented on some of the noteworthy features
of this years submissions. Uppermost were the organizational
improvements, such as the use of summaries and indices that enable
readers to easily grasp the content. With materiality emerging as
a key issue, the judges recommend that reporters prioritize
the issues most relevant and material to their business, rather
than use the report to data dump and overload users
with non-significant information. Innovative reporting approaches
and the increased use of the internet as a means of stakeholder
engagement were praised.
In light of recent corporate scandals and with increased shareholder
activism, the judges also hope that stronger links between corporate
governance and sustainability issues will become standard, as well
as better disclosure of public policy issues and the increased use
of verification statements.
Best Sustainability Report: Suncor Energy Inc.
Suncor is a Canadian integrated energy company whose core business
is meeting consumer demand for hydrocarbon energy. It is strategically
focused on developing one of the worlds largest petroleum
basinsCanadas Athabasca oil sandsand in 1967 made
history by producing the worlds first commercial barrel of
synthetic crude oil from oil sands. It continues to explore new
resources and technologies in its vision of being a unique and sustainable
For the 2003 report on sustainability, Suncors auditors reviewed
performance data in 12 categories, nearly twice as many as were
audited in 2001. In addition, Suncor asked its auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers
LLP, to provide them feedback on areas of strength and opportunities
of improvement in sustainability performance, monitoring and reporting
The judges commended Suncors submission as an excellent example
of sustainability reporting prepared in accordance with the Global
Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines, the first Canadian company
to do so, for its uniqueness in providing systemic indicators and
the inclusion of absolute and normalized data, presented clearly,
with five or more years of data for many of the indicators.
Rick George, Suncors president and CEO, states that, To
reach any goal you need a strong sense of where youre going.
Suncors stakeholders are the compass that keeps us moving
in the right directiontoward our vision of becoming a sustainable
energy company. Their experience and insights have shaped our organizations
culture, influenced our decisions and helped set the course for
our existing business and future growth. We recognize that sustainability
is about earning stakeholder consent to operate and grow our business.
By communicating openly and honestly and engaging their interest,
we are more likely to find mutually beneficial solutions to difficult
Best Environmental Report: Dell, Inc.
Entitled Creating a Model for Sustainability, Dells
environmental report begins with a substantive message from CEO
Michael Dell and president Kevin Rollins describing the companys
environmental stewardship. Dells mission, they
relate, is to fully integrate environmental stewardship into
our business of providing quality products, best-in-class services
and the best customer experience at the best value. As the
first U.S. computer company to initiate global performance recycling
goals, Dell has proven its commitment to this pledge.
The Dell Recycling Consumer Program nicely details end-of-life strategies
and helps establish Dells leadership in dealing with electronic
waste. Dell has also included information on its corporate philosophy,
known as The Soul of Dell, which: defines the kind of
company it is and aspires to become; serves as a guide for its actions
around the world; and, ultimately, forms the basis of its winning
Judges praised the use of an innovative structure for reporting
based on four key stages of a products life cycle: concept
and design, manufacturing and operations, the customer ownership
experience and the end-of-product life. The inclusion of GRI approaches
were also noted as well as stakeholder engagement activities.
Best First-Time Report: Kinkos, Inc.
Kinkos 2002 Sustainability Report is, not surprisingly, the
most graphically handsome of all the winners. Its centerfold is
a clearly articulated ecological footprint of the flow of natural,
human and financial capital at Kinkos: seven million square
feet of real estate, nearly 19,000 U.S. employees, 36,000+ computers,
monitors and scanners, more than 18,000 copiers and printers and
more than 1,000 company vehicles.
Commitment from the top is expressed by president and CEO Gary Kusin
as careful, long-term decision-making that generates economic,
social and environmental value today, while ensuring access to these
same values for future generations. The report, he continues,
also examines the challenges that lie ahead if we are to become
a truly sustainable company and drive value to the triple bottom
line of people, profits and the planet.
The judges liked the excellent graphics and text which augments
technical performance data with accessible metrics to
show energy saving or waste reduction and measures and uses innovative
normalization factors to examine trends. They characterized the
report as a pioneering effort by a retail services company.
Commendation for Sustainability Reporting: Ford Motor Co.
The first page of Fords 2002 Corporate Citizenship Report
includes this 1926 statement from Henry Ford: Business must
be run at a profit, else it will die. But when anyone attempts to
run a business solely for profit and thinks not at all of the service
to the community, then also the business must die, for it no longer
has a reason for existence. This is followed by Bill Fords
2003 version of the same corporate value. We are committed
to building great cars and trucks, and passing along a stronger
business and a better world to future generations.
On its 100th anniversary, Fords report is organized around
the companys seven business principles keyed to a color associated
with each principle, making the document extremely readable. The
business principles and how Ford will use them to move toward sustainability
will guide decisions and actions globally. As a whole they set the
standards by which Ford judges itself and by which it hopes to be
judged by others.
The CERES/ACCA panel of judges praised the use of the business principles
and how they are linked to sustainability performance and stakeholder
engagement as well as the extensive coverage of product impacts.
The straightforward discussion of progress made toward meeting climate
change commitments and the successful use of the Internet to provide
supplemental text and data were also singled out.
Commendation for Innovative Reporting: Dofasco, Inc.
Dofasco, not as well known as the other winners, is a significant
force in the North American steel industry. For the third year running,
this Canadian company has integrated its sustainability report with
its annual report, providing, as the judges stated, substantial
financial and sustainability performance information in an effective
format. The report is supplemented by an excellent newsprint summary
that is distributed in newspapers where Dofasco operates.
As they did with most of the other winners, the judges noted the
presence of a message by the CEO that addresses progress and challenges.
The statement from Dofascos president and COO, Don Pether,
along with the outgoing chairman and CEO John Mayberry, conveys
the companys philosophy. Dofasco strives to practice
the principles of sustainability in the broadest sense, by enlisting
every company stakeholderour employees, customers, shareholders,
suppliers and host communitiesin our ongoing prosperity. They
know that we will deliver, because they know who we are, where we
come from and what we stand for.
The judges also commended Dofascos stakeholder focus as exemplified
in an open letter from key constituents who previewed the report
and found that the report accurately presents useful data
and reflects the companys challenges and successes from the
environmental and social perspectives.
For more information about the awards, and to download copies
of the winning reports, visit: www.ceres.org/our_work/2003_repawards.htm.