An analysis of the environmental and corporate
Directions in Environmental and social responsibility (CSR) reporting practices of
CSR Reporting 2000/01 the UK’s top 200 companies.
20 With commentary and analysis from:
• Roger Cowe – Journalist
• Mark Wade – Shell
• Simon Propper and Peter Knight –
Researched and published by Environmental Context
• Nigel Salter – salterbaxter
Environmental and corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting has
evolved substantially over the last decade.
There is no doubt that the concepts of environmental performance,
corporate responsibility and sustainability are now, at the very least,
being discussed at board level in major corporations.
Government pressure, demands from the investment community, growth
in private share ownership, high profile environmental stories and the
increasingly demonstrable business benefits have all contributed to the
issues moving up the agenda for discussion.
But a lot of it is just that - discussion. The underlying direction that
reporting is taking is still unclear. Outside the heavily regulated
industries that have dealt with these issues for years companies are
unsure how to engage with the debate.
It seemed to us that it was time to establish the real state of
environment and CSR reporting in the UK’s top companies.
We are not being judgmental but merely recording what companies are
doing. Indeed, one of the clearest messages to emerge from our research
is that those who are just beginning to address CSR are discouraged by
the judgmental approaches and ‘scoring’ techniques of the
Contents benchmarking organisations.
1 Introduction 12 Methodology This survey records and analyses where companies have got to in the
2 Roger Cowe: 13 Analysis – overview
Investors need information.
field of reporting. We discuss through the articles and commentary
4 How the UK government encourages 16 Analysis by sector
some of the practical views and the issues involved with reporting in
19 Looking forward
the real world of business.
6 Mark Wade:
Why Shell reports. 20 International overview
8 Simon Propper and Peter Knight: 22 Data UK top 200 This is the first edition of this research document. We plan to publish
Reasons to take the plunge. every year, expanding our scope and identifying emerging trends.
10 Nigel Salter:
Reporting is one thing, communicating
effectively is quite another. Your feedback would be most welcome.
Nigel Salter Simon Propper
salterbaxter Environmental Context
INVESTORS NEED INFORMATION by Roger Cowe
More than £3bn is now invested in ethical funds – unit
trusts and similar vehicles for collective investment,
which exclude certain unacceptable industries or ‘This year sees the launch of a series of
SRI indices from FTSE International…
activities or focus on benign areas of the economy. they come under the banner FTSE4Good,
and the UK version will include only
those members of the FTSE All-Share
index which meet social and
Ethical investment is the best-known face of the The same applies to social responsibility. Socially The audience is growing rapidly, and is already a Few pension funds will go as far as USS, which is
“concerned shareholder”. But it is just the tip of the responsible investors are no different in needing long way from the niche market of retail ethical incorporating these issues into its routine investment
iceberg of socially responsible investment (SRI) and information on which to base their investment investors. Henderson and CGNU’s fund management management. But many will ask their fund managers
can give a misleading impression of what such decisions. They need to know what companies’ arm, Morley Fund Management, each speak for to “engage” to some extent. Companies have to face
shareholders want from their investments. policies are, how they are performing in areas such about £70bn of equity funds. They are among the the fact that it is no longer possible to talk only in
as labour standards and greenhouse gas emissions, top five investment groups in the UK. Add in Friends terms of financial performance. This year sees the
Insurance companies such as CGNU and other just as financial analysts need financial information Ivory & Sime, Hermes (which includes BT’s huge launch of a series of SRI indices from FTSE
mainstream fund managers such as Henderson are and corporate governance officers need to see how pension fund in its portfolio) and the Universities International, the joint venture between the Financial
now starting to see social and environmental issues boards are behaving. Superannuation Scheme (USS), and you have a Times and the stock exchange, which runs a host of
Roger Cowe is a writer in a corporate governance context. Just as they powerful force judging companies on social and market standards such as the FTSE 100 index.
specialising in social expect board structures and practices to comply with This kind of reporting to the SRI community needs to environmental performance as well as financial
and environmental the City’s Combined Code, they also expect be taken just as seriously as conventional reporting. results. Morley has announced that it will vote They come under the banner FTSE4Good, and the UK
aspects of business.
companies to manage their impacts on society, Financial analysts would not expect to be fobbed off against companies’ annual reports which don’t version will include only those members of the FTSE
minimising the negative and maximising the with generalisations about sales, profits and earnings include some kind of environmental report. All-Share index which meet social and
positive. per share. They want figures which can be relied on. environmental standards. This means even relatively
That force is bound to grow, partly because of the small quoted companies will face the same sorts of
The Combined Code was developed to encapsulate The same applies to SRI analysts. They need to know requirement for all pension funds to consider social, questions as the multinationals.
the corporate governance reforms of the 1990’s. It is what companies have achieved, what their targets environmental and ethical issues as part of their
based on the realisation that the City needs more are, and how they aim to get there. And as the ranks annual investment policy review. Constituent companies will have to demonstrate
than accounting standards and takeover rules to of social responsibility investors grows, that means responsibility on human rights, stakeholder relations
make sure companies are being run properly. It also widespread reporting, probably as part of routine Pension funds are terrified of excluding even and environmental impact. Even the smaller
needs clear rules setting out what is expected of communications with shareholders. relatively small sectors of the stock market, as in the companies in the grouping will need to be aware of
companies. traditional approach to ethical investment. But many the issues, and have policies and management
will want to adopt some form of “engagement” – the systems to deal with them. That includes measuring
Investors also need to see that the companies whose term coined to describe the way investors raise and reporting performance. It is a long way from the
shares they own are following the rules, which issues with the companies whose shares they hold. profit and loss account and balance sheet which
requires reporting of key information – such as used to form the centrepiece of the annual report,
directors’ pay packages, and which directors make but companies which want to keep their
the decisions on directors’ pay. shareholders happy will need to make that journey.
‘Companies have to face the fact that it
is no longer possible to talk only in
terms of financial performance.’
Directions 2 Directions 3
HOW THE UK GOVERNMENT ENCOURAGES REPORTING
The UK government is serious about reporting and it is ‘As BP’s John Browne has said, the
enlightened company increasingly
encouraging companies to report. The prime minister recognises that there are good
commercial reasons for being ahead
now appears to view the environment as a business of the pack when it comes to issues
to do with the environment.’
Reporting has been emphasised by both the prime Environmental performance indicators THE GOVERNMENT POSITION
minister, Tony Blair, and the environment minister, The core of the report is made up of reporting on
Michael Meacher, who has named and shamed some key environmental impacts, using acknowledged Taken from the prime minister’s speech to the Taken from Michael Meacher’s speech at the ACCA
of those in the FTSE 350 who do not report. indicators. For example, air emissions could be CBI/Green Alliance Conference on the Environment, Environmental Reporting Awards, 23 March 2001.
reported in quantities of specific gases emitted (eg 24 October 2000.
The Department of Environment, Transport and the volatile organic compounds and ozone depleters). Now of course some companies may be starting to do
Regions (DETR) has published a set of three specific Other impacts include: waste, water pollutants, As BP’s John Browne has said, the enlightened the right thing but not reporting it. The message is
guidelines for reporting on greenhouse gas energy use and land use. Impacts could also include company increasingly recognises that there are good you won’t be believed unless you are prepared to
emissions, waste and water. It has also issued draft the use and disposal of products. commercial reasons for being ahead of the pack when demonstrate it, by being open in your reporting. If you
Extracts from DETR’s general guidelines on environmental reporting which it comes to issues to do with the environment. are doing it, please tell us.
reporting guidelines and explain simply how to produce a good quality basic Improvement targets
speeches by the prime report - including key indicators to report against. It is good practice to set and report targets to The City and investment community are beginning to I would stress that there is no doubt that a new
minister and Michael
reduce impacts in each area. Wherever possible recognise the new commercial and environmental business environment is emerging. A few examples of
The guidelines are targeted mainly at first-time targets should be specific and quantified to a set leadership help show the direction in which things are
reporters. The emphasis is on making incremental timescale, challenging but achievable. moving.
steps, rather than trying to do everything at once.
Description of management systems The Advisory Committee on Business and the
No particular format is preferred and the DETR A clear description of how you manage ‘…I am issuing a challenge, Environment identified sustainable development as a
encourages reporters to choose either one or all environmental issues and the people who are key issue for its work last year. In December, it
of these: in charge. today, to all of the top 350 published a briefing paper entitled `Value, Growth,
• Environment section in the annual report Legal compliance
companies to be publishing Success - how sustainable is your business?’ I urge all
senior managers to read it.
• Stand-alone hard copy report
List of prosecutions (including fines and costs) for
infringing environmental laws.
annual environment reports Last year the FORGE group produced guidelines to
• Stand-alone web-based report. by the end of 2001.’ help the financial sector report on its environmental
Supply chain performance.
This is a summary of the draft guidelines. Describe what you are doing to help ensure that
your suppliers are also acting to reduce the We recently heard that the new FTSE4Good socially
Organisation profile environmental impact of their operations. realities, and to make money out of them. The return responsible investment index will be launched in
This gives the reader an idea of who you are and on equity of the new Dow Jones Sustainability Group June. This joins other indices such as the Dow Jones
what you do, including an overview of operations, Contact details for feedback Index averaged 15%, compared to 8% for the regular Sustainability Index and the Business in the
location of major sites, ownership, joint ventures, Encourage readers to seek more information by index for the first half of this year. And more Environment index of company environmental
turnover etc. giving them the necessary details. individual investors are choosing ethical investment engagement. And the work of the Advisory Committee
portfolios which reflect their values. Legislation on Consumer Products and the Environment has
CEO Statement Full details and additional support material may be found earlier this year on Statements of Investment reinforced the need for companies to provide
Leadership message giving details of plans to at www.environment.detr.gov.uk/envrp/index.htm. Principles required pension funds for the first time to consumers with reliable information about the
improve the company’s environmental performance. disclose whether they take ethical, environmental or environmental impacts of products and services.
social factors into account in their decisions.
Publish the full policy. The World Business Council on Sustainable
Development, of which many of you here today are
Identify key environmental impacts members, is driving forward the agenda to increase
A report will contain typically between 4 and 10 key the efficient use of resources. I would also like to see
impacts, depending on the nature of the business, more reporting on environmental and social
dealt with separately later in the report. performance. The pioneers of environmental reporting
- companies like BA, BT, British Gas, and BP - are
seeing increasing benefits from both improved
efficiencies and public image as a result. This is
something that all companies should be doing, and I
am issuing a challenge, today, to all of the top 350
companies to be publishing annual environment
reports by the end of 2001.
Directions 4 Directions 5
WHY SHELL REPORTS by Mark Wade (founder member of the Sustainable Development Group of Shell International) Future
We believe that sustainable development and This year, in response to readers’ requests, The Shell
Report is shorter and more concise even though it
contains additional economic, environmental and
stakeholder engagement is fundamental to the future social performance data. The level of verification has
been increased and it contains the same frank
success of our business. coverage of issues, case studies, expert testimony
and a wide range of ‘Tell Shell’ comments. For the
first time this year a summary version was sent to
shareholders along with a copy of the Annual Report
and Accounts of the Parent Company of the Shell
Group they invest in. Our aim is to fully integrate
our reporting in future to satisfy the needs of
shareholders and other stakeholders.
‘This is a world where Business benefits
We have a long tradition of doing things thoroughly
there is an increasing at Shell and find that it pays. We have spent a
considerable amount of time, money and effort on
demand for openness developing the necessary management systems,
and transparency…’ reporting, verification and communicating our
The SDMF offers business benefit in four key areas:
• It helps reduce costs by encouraging eco-
efficiency (making less waste and doing more
• Creating new opportunities by anticipating new
markets driven by customers who want a more
Shell has been successful for close on 100 years, but The Report showed an outline strategy - called a sustainable world
in the mid-1990’s we began to question our fitness Road Map - for bringing sustainable development • Gaining customers – enhancing the brand by
to face the challenges of the 21st century. Then in thinking into business activities. A practical tool was providing products and services built on
1995 the company received a wake-up call in the developed to implement the strategy - we called it sustainability thinking
form of the controversy surrounding the proposed the Sustainable Development Management • Reducing risk – managing risks better through
sinking of the Brent Spar oil storage buoy deep in Framework (SDMF) – and Key Performance Indicators responsible behaviour.
the Atlantic. This, and the public reaction to Shell’s are being developed to chart progress and drive
operations in Nigeria, highlighted the need to continuous improvement. Key elements of the SDMF We believe that through the Shell Report and our
engage with stakeholders and acted as a catalyst for include integration of economic, environmental and commitment to openness and engagement, we are
The Royal Dutch/ Shell Group of
change. social considerations into decision-making, and earning understanding and trust in many areas. This
Companies - involved in the oil, gas, engagement with people (including critics) inside is leading to:
chemicals and renewable energy business We took a hard look at the way we managed our and outside of Shell.
in over 130 countries worldwide - businesses, especially in the light of the changing • Co-operation and partnership with a broad range
produced the first report on its expectations society has of the role and behaviour of The Report is an integral part of a broader of non governmental organisations
commitment to sustainable development
multinationals. This is a world where there is an communications strategy, which includes a campaign • Shell becoming the preferred choice of operator
in 1998, called ‘The Shell Report - profits
and principles, does there have to be a increasing demand for openness and transparency, The Shell Report 2000. to encourage dialogue on economic, social and for many governments worldwide
choice?’. Four years on, Shell is seen as a and for companies to account for their ‘People, Planet & Profits’. environmental issues facing Shell, our industry and • Attracting top talent
leader in Corporate Social Responsibility environmental and social responsibilities. Thus, the society at large. We use various media, including • Aligning corporate values with those of our staff
reporting, winning a number of awards, Shell Report was born. advertising and the internet. Our website includes a and empowering our people to challenge
including the ACCA/ISEA Social Reporting ‘Tell-Shell’ facility that enables contributors to traditional ways of working.
Awards for 1999, ACCA Environmental
Reporting Award for 2000, the European The Report was the publicly visible part of a much have their views posted (no matter how
Environmental Reporting Award for 2000 broader management strategy to ensure that Shell frank or critical) or engage in active The CSR benefit
and the World Environment Center Gold began to focus its efforts on contributing to debate on our web ‘Forum’. We also Each year the ‘Tell Shell’ facility receives some 1,000
Medal Award for Environmental sustainable development. Given the size of Shell - ‘Engagement undertake to respond personally to messages by emails, letters and direct onto the
Achievement for 2000. combined with the complexity of the concept of provides…an those correspondents who would Forum from correspondents all over the world.
sustainable development - this is a huge undertaking opportunity for us to like a reply or who seek Engagement provides not only a chance for Shell to
and one that will take a considerable amount of hear the views and information. communicate on issues such as climate change or
time to implement fully. concerns of a society human rights, but also an opportunity for us to hear
that makes up our the views and concerns of a society that makes up
customers, shareholders our customers, shareholders and other stakeholders.
stakeholders.’ The Report, for all its high profile, is only a report. Its
true significance lies in the underlying performance
it represents and our continuous efforts to live up to
our Business Principles and the commitments to
sustainable development and human rights that they
Directions 6 Directions 7
REASONS FOR THE 97 TO TAKE THE PLUNGE by Simon Propper and Peter Knight
Top 10 Dos Top Five Don’ts
Almost half of the UK’s biggest 200 companies do not • Do it! It can be difficult for beginners, but • Don’t follow guidelines slavishly. Pick and
the right report will silence your critics and mix - focus on what’s important to you and
report on their social or environmental performance. bring business benefits.
• Make sure your corporate values are
be bold enough to say why.
• Don’t spin. Credibility comes from being open
conveyed. and honest.
• Research your audience - don’t be afraid to • Don’t expect to produce your best report first
ask them what they want to hear. Then focus time.
on their needs. • Don’t spend too much money - keep it
• Use the most appropriate medium or a simple.
combination of media. Some people, such as • Don’t try reporting if you have nothing to
regulators, still like paper while campaigners report - the document must reflect a
are happy with the web. broader business initiative.
Despite six years of government encouragement This concern is certainly valid. Environmental • Use the web, but keep websites short, clear
(the Conservatives supported reporting too) and a reporting and the management systems designed and to the point.
decade of peer pressure, our survey shows that 97 to control environmental impacts are geared for
• Be concise and clear. We all have too much
of the FTSE 200 resist all reporting demands from big polluters. How can the same standards be
stakeholders, such as socially responsible suitable for banks, television companies and others to read, keep it short.
investment funds, pressure groups, business offering a service? These companies have relatively • Write plain English avoiding technical terms
customers and benchmarking organisations. few environmental impacts and do not need a full and company spin - you’ll make more
ISO 14001 management system to manage their friends.
Reasons for their reticence are many and varied. paper clip consumption. Neither should they
Many boards still reject the idea of business feel obligated to comply with the GRI dictats
• Show commitment to improve.
Simon Propper and engaging with any interest group other than those on reporting. • Be confident but open to criticism.
Peter Knight are directors
of the consultancy
who own shares. They stick to the narrow and now • Treat your report as you would any product.
Environmental Context. rather outdated idea that the only responsibility of Other than a simple fear of engaging with the Constantly look for ways to distribute it.
business is to comply with the law and pay broader society, we feel the main barrier to Market it. And then market it again.
dividends to investors. The board’s social reporting is the difficulty that companies find in
responsibility ends, according to this view, when identifying the benefits. “Why bother?” ask many.
the company pays its tax bill. Indeed, why should those businesses that are not
in the public gaze, will never have Greenpeace
Several companies told us they deeply resented snorkeling up their outfall, don’t own consumer
attempts by government and organisations such as brands and don’t exploit children in far-away ‘Beginners say they are offered
the charity Business in the Environment (BiE) -
which ranks companies on their environmental
places report? little advice on how to take the
performance - to browbeat them into reporting. Having worked on about 100 reports across most first step. Those that are brave
They consider such gratuitous reporting as merely
scratching the backs of politicians and do-gooders.
sectors we have witnessed the frustrations clients
feel. But more important: we have seen how the
enough to venture out fear being
business can benefit. Other than a boost to the marked down by indexers… if
Those who accept that they should acknowledge company’s reputation (including the often-ignored
the needs of a wider constituency complain about perception of employees about their employer), they fail to produce a triple
the inflexibility of existing reporting guidelines. the main kickback is the understanding that salchow first time on the ice.’
Many find the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and management can get on the implications of
previous prescriptions from the United Nations their actions.
Environment Programme (UNEP) just too
complicated and demanding. This can lead to simple cost savings but more
significantly, it can deliver the data that enables
Beginners say they are offered little advice on how management to make real bottom-line efficiencies. Top Ten Benefits
to take the first step. Those that are brave enough These are things that excite the all-important Reporting:
to venture out fear being marked down by indexers shareholders: reduced energy consumption (have
such as BiE if they fail to produce a triple salchow you seen the price of oil lately?), safer working • Helps convey your values. • Reassures employees.
first time on the ice. practices (death and disease is expensive), happier • Improves the reputation of the company • Attracts investment from ethical and green
workforce (stress and disillusionment can be among important interest groups such as funds.
To be fair, some of these concerns are being costly), better legal compliance (fines are not employees, opinion formers and pressure • Helps to collect the information demanded
addressed by the UK government’s General cheap) and so on. groups. by an increasing number of mainstream
Guidelines on Environmental Reporting (see page 4),
a commendably practical approach to the issue The function of reports is to communicate these • Helps recruit better people (who wants to investors (including pension funds and
and an excellent place for rookies to start. benefits to a broader audience, while also helping work for a dirty, socially irresponsible insurance companies).
people understand the softer but all-important company?). • Helps identify inefficiencies.
If the 97 - many are service companies - are to take constituent of a business: its values. • Gives staff the credibility to engage with • Is a catalyst for generating management
their first steps then something will have to be
regulators and policy makers. information which can save waste and
done to encourage the service industry to feel more Opposite is a list of benefits and some dos and
comfortable about reporting. “Why,” asks an insurer, don’ts for the first-time reporter. The water has • Reassures corporate customers and others in reduce costs.
“should we have to follow reporting standards never been warmer - it’s time for the 97 to take your supply chain (especially those with
designed for a giant chemicals company?” the plunge. strong values of their own).
Directions 8 Directions 9
REPORTING IS ONE THING, COMMUNICATING
EFFECTIVELY IS QUITE ANOTHER by Nigel Salter
As most major organisations will testify, developing
an environmental and CSR reporting process is no
small task, especially for businesses approaching the
issues for the first time.
With all the effort put into getting a reporting It seems to me that all the effort put into generating 2. The second real drawback of the internet is the The internet has encouraged far greater quantity of
process together it is perhaps somewhat harsh to the content for the reporting processes deserves better. fact that publishing a report on the web does reporting and this should be welcomed. It is not,
then criticise the quality of the reports that actually absolutely nothing by way of pro-actively arguing however, improving the quality of communication
are produced. But a look around at many of the Having said this, the discipline as a whole is a company’s position on these issues or bringing and this fact should not be ignored by those
reports (both printed and web-based) leads me, and undoubtedly maturing and the tools for the debate to a broader audience. companies that wish to communicate with their
must lead the audiences, to think that a lot of the communicating are becoming more sophisticated. audiences as opposed to simply making data
effort is wasted. The fundamental problem is that it does not available.
Perhaps the most influential driver of change has reach out to new audiences - an internet report
If you’re going to the lengths of creating the been the internet as it has allowed far more is a depository of information for those who are This is also where we should be slightly critical of
processes, gathering the data, following the information to be published and has encouraged already interested or those just passing through the drive to standardise reporting. The intention to
guidelines, verifying the information and writing many organisations to begin reporting to some by chance. It is not an active, persuasive simplify and create guidelines that enable
the report, surely it’s absolutely vital to ensure the degree. communication tool. comparability is obviously desirable, not least to aid
messages you want to communicate do actually SRI analysis. But the danger is that an obsession
get through. Unfortunately, however, the internet is not with the standards will stifle innovation and
necessarily adding much to the quality of effectiveness. It could be argued that the more
Why is it then, that reports from many of the UK’s information being published. On the contrary, there sophisticated businesses in this field are not those
major corporations are of such poor quality in terms are two very distinct problems. ‘The danger is that an with the best technical reports and processes. It
of writing, communication and presentation? seems to me that the companies that are engaging
1. The first is that many companies appear to be obsession with the in this field most effectively are those who regard
Many of these companies spend enormous amounts of
money on their annual reports and other corporate
using the internet as something of a ‘cop-out’.
They feel that the easiest way to relieve some of
standards will stifle the report as a means and not an end in itself. They
see it as a key communications vehicle but not the
communications. And yet their environment and CSR the pressure from the various groups looking for innovation and only one. The innovation and effectiveness comes
publications appear not to be taken seriously enough information in this area is simply to ‘put from what they do in addition to a standard report -
to merit any real care or consideration, despite the something on the website’.
effectiveness.’ be it analyst presentations, online forums or staff
Nigel Salter is a director fact that in many instances the very issue at stake is communications programmes.
of design consultancy that of corporate reputation. The quality of this information, its relevance and
salterbaxter which he
founded with Penny Baxter.
effectiveness and indeed the quality of the Let us not forget that the end objective is not
The reports are all too frequently technically or management processes behind it do not always This is where I believe many companies have gone necessarily for all businesses to produce a standard
almost academically focused (particularly the more stand up to close scrutiny. too far in adopting the internet as the main medium report on their environmental and CSR performance.
environmentally based reports) and appear to have for reporting. It is practical and easy but it neglects
been conceived without an assessment of audience new audiences, audiences who need to be surprised The objective is for business to address these issues
and message. and also entire constituencies who either don’t have effectively and to engage with all stakeholders and
access to the internet or are disinclined to use it. constituencies in a dialogue.
And here I am not talking about peripheral
audiences. I am talking about Chief Executives, Reporting itself is merely a signal that the dialogue
Chairmen and business leaders who simply would is starting. This dialogue will only become truly
not choose to go and look at a company’s website worthwhile when businesses place as much value on
but who may well respond positively to an effective getting their message across as on the quality of
piece of printed communication that they can carry their technical systems and data.
and read on a train journey or that might grab their
attention at their desk.
‘Companies appear to be
using the internet as
something of a ‘cop-out’…
…it is not an
Directions 10 Directions 11
ANALYSIS – OVERVIEW
The data published in this document was gathered through telephone discussions with the
relevant people in each company and by consulting company reports and websites. We have
done our utmost to ensure that all information is confirmed by the organisation and in only
three cases the companies chose not to participate and respond.
Our FT-SE 200 listing is taken from the Financial Times data published on Friday 11 May 2001,
ranking companies by market capitalisation.
For accuracy this date has also been used as the cut-off point for data gathering. This may
mean that some companies have published reports or information since that date. We have
signalled this in all such cases that were brought to our attention.
We have not included investment trust companies in our sample as they tend not to be
regarded as ‘trading companies’ but rather they invest in the assets of other ‘trading
companies’. This view is open to debate and we would welcome feedback for future editions.
The places of the two companies excluded on this basis have been taken by
the companies ranked 201 and 202 on the same date.
CATEGORIES FOR RESEARCH
KEY TO ABBREVIATIONS
A full environment report
ACCA The Association of Certified Chartered
A full environment report is defined as a report that:
• identifies the main environmental impacts of the company
AR Annual Report
• contains data on those impacts
reports on actions taken in relation to the impacts
identifies and discusses targets and programmes for the future.
BiE Business in the Environment companies disclose no substantive environmental
We are also treating a report that covers Health, Safety and Environment
CSR Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR information.
as a full report.
DETR Department of the Environment,
Transport and the Regions
Section in the annual report
We have defined this on the basis that it needs to be a stand alone section
EMS Environmental Management System
and not simply a paragraph in running copy or a few lines in corporate
governance or the Directors’ report. As this is the hardest area to classify
companies produce stand-alone full reports.
GRI Global Reporting Initiative
consistently we have qualified our assessment of these sections with
comments or more detailed descriptions.
PERI Public Environmental Reporting Initiative
SHE Safety Health and Environment
We have aimed not to prompt in this area but have asked people if they
are aware of the GRI or DETR guidelines if no information has been
UNEP United Nations Environment Programme
companies report in full or in the Annual Report.
Independent verification statement
We have taken a rigorous approach to this definition but have signalled,
where possible, where other forms of audit or assurance are used.
companies reported for the first time this year and 16 others
16 stated their intent to report this year for the first time.
Directions 12 Directions 13
28 companies have been reporting for 3 years and over.
19 companies have been reporting for over 5 years and
British Airways have reported for 10 years.
“GRI is fine as reference, but
it’s impossible to apply to a
multinational business with
(This does not include the now transformed and/or de-merged ex-public utilities).
multiple operations in
20 companies refer to the GRI guidelines.
The key word here is ‘refer’. The awareness of the Global Reporting Initiative seems
to be good. But referring to guidance is one thing, actually following guidelines
appears to be quite another. The general comment appears to be ‘useful but too
“ I simply don’t see the point
in verifying data that has
already been verified for 14 companies refer to the DETR guidelines.
The Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions’ guidelines appear to
have been well received but not widely enough disseminated. The two documents
ISO 14001.” that companies expressed positive views about were the ‘Getting Started’ guide and
the guidance on greenhouse gas emissions. (‘Helpful and easy to follow’).
30 companies have an independent verification statement.
The value of independent verification appears uncertain. Companies appear to feel
that it represents too great an expense for too little obvious benefit. There is no 04 companies refer to other guidelines.
doubt that independent assessment adds credibility to a report but the jury is
obviously still out.
There is a clear trend towards including CSR issues in environment reports.
This is illustrated by the diversity of titles, although the content does not always fulfil the
promise on the cover.
36 companies publish full printed reports.
More are expected in the next 12 months.
AWG – ‘Environment and Community Report’.
BAA – ‘Sustainability Report’.
Billiton – ‘HSE and Communities Annual Report’.
10 companies report on the web only.
This figure is surprisingly low. The web has certainly not taken over but, again, next
year’s figures should prove more enlightening.
Diageo – ‘Corporate Citizenship’.
Railtrack – ‘Corporate Sustainability Report’.
Royal and Sun Alliance – ‘Environmental, Health, Safety and Community Report’.
Severn Trent – ‘Stewardship Report’.
42 companies have combined printed and web-based reports.
It is encouraging to see that the majority of reporters still recognise the value of
printed communication in engaging with their audiences.
Shell – ‘The Shell Report. People, Planet & Profits’.
United Utilities – ‘Social and Environmental Impact Report’.
Directions 14 Directions 15