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  1. 1. ` Press Release Embargoed until October 23, 2006 Vodafone tops the global Accountability Rating ~Annual rating ranks global business, industries and regions~ October 23rd 2006, London: Vodafone Group is ranked number one in this year’s global Accountability Rating, narrowly overtaking BP, which has been ranked number one since 2004. Royal Dutch Shell is ranked number three. Vodafone's CEO Arun Sarin comments: “Trust is a pre-condition for doing business. And it is directly linked to being accountable for your actions as a company. I am pleased to see Vodafone ranking first in the Accountability Rating.” The Accountability Rating is led by AccountAbility, the global think-tank on organizational and corporate accountability, and csrnetwork, the leading UK corporate responsibility consultancy. This year’s ranking consists not only of an assessment of the world’s largest corporations, including the top 50 companies from the Fortune Global 500® but also of a number of country specific lists in Russia, South Africa and Hungary. Simon Zadek, chief executive of AccountAbility, gave guarded applause to the leaders in the Rating, highlighting critical gaps in implementation and assurance: “Envisioning a sustainable business strategy is a good first step, but implementation is where the going gets tough. This year’s results show that business has made good progress, yet there’s a long way to go in embedding sustainability in everyday practices. Policy implementation and 3rd party assurance are key areas where improvement is needed”.
  2. 2. Mark Line, managing director of csrnetwork observes that the Accountability Rating provides an unparalleled insight into how the world’s best companies tick. He says: “With in-depth knowledge accumulated through the global rating over the past few years, combined with this year’s new country specific lists, the 2006 Accountability Rating is providing a unique route-map for companies who want to improve their own CSR performance.” Oil sector acccountability slips to last place Although former pioneers like BP and Royal Dutch Shell continue to demonstrate commitment to accountability processes, this year’s findings show that the average score for the petroleum sector as a whole has dropped significantly, compared to 2005, and now ranks bottom of the five-sector industry ranking. A combination of poor performance from companies such as PDVSA, Valero, China National Petroleum and Sinopec, combined with tougher criteria in this year’s analysis have played a part in this slippage. Simultaneously, other sectors, notably financial services have caught up with the ‘early running’ made by the petroleum sector in developing corporate responsibility. Overall, business accountability has improved, given that this year’s criteria were tougher than 2005, reflecting mainstream acceptance of social responsibility. Top Ten companies The top ten companies in this year’s rating now include a mixed bag of sectors. The leaders, in descending order are: Vodafone (1); BP (2); Royal Dutch/Shell Group (3); Électricité de France (4); Suez (5); Enel (6); HSBC Holdings (7); Veolia Environnement (8); HBOS (9); Carrefour (10). Top Five improvers The top five improvers are HBOS; E.ON; Volkswagen; Fiat and Home Depot. Areas of improvement in 2006 Of the six key measures of accountability (see below), the most marked performance increase has been in stakeholder engagement, with more companies systematically consulting their stakeholders. There have been notable increases in local community and Government engagement, while contractors, business partners and, notably, trade unions hardly register in the engagement process. Areas of weakness in 2006 Of the six key measures of accountability (see below), performance management and assurance remain areas where business has the most to improve.
  3. 3. Regions Europe remains the leading region when it comes to accountability. Asia has slipped from second to third behind the USA. South Africa… Is a global leader when it comes to stakeholder engagement with business doing more than most, partly due to legislative pressures for black economic empowerment, and partly due to a national history teetering on the edge of civil conflict, in which open dialogue has become a key element of successful business. Russia… Perhaps not surprisingly, Russia’s average score is only half of the global average. However, a large number of first-time sustainability reporters is an encouraging indicator that the accountability of Russian companies is improving fast. What is the Accountability Rating? The Accountability Rating is a proprietary tool developed jointly by AccountAbility, a London think tank on corporate and organizational accountability, and csrnetwork, the leading UK CSR consultancy. It measures the extent to which companies have built responsible practices into the way they do business and looks at how well they account for the impact of their actions on their stakeholders. The analysis is based on a range of factors: • Stakeholder engagement. Does the company engage in dialogue with people who have an interest in, may be affected by, or may affect its business? • Governance. Do senior executives and the advisory board properly consider stakeholder issues when setting strategy and formulating corporate policy? • Strategy. Does the core business strategy integrate social and environmental targets with financial ones? • Performance management. Do the company’s management processes, business standards, incentives, and targets seek to achieve social and environmental goals? • Public disclosure. Does the company provide a detailed report of social and environmental performance? • Assurance. Does the company secure appropriate independent assurance?
  4. 4. For full results, see: as of the 23rd October 2006. For further information please contact: James Thellusson / Luke Merryweather For AccountAbility c/o Glasshouse Partnership +44 (0)207 079 9220 Penny Adair/Nicki Websper For csrnetwork c/o Forsyth Websper +44 (0) 117 904 0173 +44 (0) 1225 425782 Notes for Editors About the research: The Accountability Rating is based on publicly available information, primarily annual reports and social and environmental reports published before July 15, 2006. The 64 companies analysed are a combination of the Top 50 companies of the Fortune Global 500 list (the world’s largest corporations by revenue), and of the Top 10 companies in 5 industry sectors to allow for sector-specific analysis. In the South African, Russian and Hungarian Country lists, the 50 largest corporations by revenue have been selected for assessment. About AccountAbility: AccountAbility’s mission is to promote ‘accountability for sustainable development’. We do this by being the world’s leading voice on innovative solutions to today’s accountability dilemmas. Al Gore, previously Vice President of the United States, said of AccountAbility’s work “incorporating social and environmental factors into decisions may seem exotic to some today, but there is no doubt it will be core to tomorrow's successful strategies and practices. The work by AccountAbility goes a long way in identifying the impediments to this process and how best to overcome them”. We are a not-for-profit international institute established in 1995 that works to make companies, and other organisations, accountable for their impacts on society and the environment. AccountAbility has a multi-stakeholder governance model, with our 350 or so members made up of civil society organisations, research bodies and businesses electing our international Council, which currently includes representatives from Brazil, India, North America, South Africa, Russia, the UK and continental Europe. AccountAbility publishes research, acts as a standard-setter to inform
  5. 5. quality and professional development, a think-tank to guide public policy, and works with its member organisations to establish best practice. About csrnetwork: csrnetwork is one of the UK’s leading corporate social responsibility consultancies. Founded in 1999, our purpose is to help businesses worldwide meet their social and environmental responsibilities. We have extensive practical experience in implementing CSR practices that reflect stakeholder expectations. Our specialist teams support our clients in six main areas: benchmarking; stakeholder engagement; strategy and systems development; responsible sourcing, communications and reporting; and independent assurance of sustainability reports. The Accountability Rating 2006 is first published exclusively in FORTUNE, the world’s premier business magazine in the October 30 2006 issue and online at on 23 October 2006. -ends-