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
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
“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”.
Mark Line, managing director of csrnetwork observes that the Accountability
Rating provides an unparalleled insight into how the world’s best companies tick.
“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
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
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
Europe remains the leading region when it comes to accountability. Asia has
slipped from second to third behind the USA.
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
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
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
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
• Governance. Do senior executives and the advisory board properly
consider stakeholder issues when setting strategy and formulating
• 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
• Public disclosure. Does the company provide a detailed report of social
and environmental performance?
• Assurance. Does the company secure appropriate independent assurance?
For full results, see: www.accountabilityrating.com as of the 23rd
For further information please contact:
James Thellusson / Luke Merryweather
c/o Glasshouse Partnership
+44 (0)207 079 9220
Penny Adair/Nicki Websper
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.
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
quality and professional development, a think-tank to guide public policy, and
works with its member organisations to establish best practice.
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
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 www.fortune.com on 23 October 2006.