Saturday, May 8, 2010

The habit of winning

CERES - ACCA have done it again with the CERES-ACCA North American Sustainability Report Awards. for 2009 reports. By again, I don't mean just holding the Awards and picking the winners. I mean picking the SAME winners. Again. See my post of December 2009 in which I predicted Timberland in (joint) first place, Ford in (joint) second place and Seventh Gen in SME place. (Seventh Gen was a POC, as they were the only SME shortlisted) Timberland and Ford won in 2007,  Seventh Gen won in 2005 and 2008.

It seems that there is a certain inevitability about reporting awards, I suppose. As one who reads hundreds of reports (before breakfast) (more after breakfast) , it is very clear that certain reporters stand out from the crowd in one way or another.  The CERES-ACCA winners are well-deserved, not only for producing excellent reports, but for doing it time and time again, and more importantly, for doing the work that enables them to do the reports. Congrats to all!!

Having said that, awards are about encouragement of reporting and reporters. They are both recognition for a job well done, AND  a message to other reporters that their work is important and can also gain recognition. There are many many good reports out there than can win awards, so if all the top places are (albeit, one might say,  justifiably) gained by a handful of Companies who "got it" a long time ago, I wonder how we encourage others to continue to participate? There were some excellent other reports shortlisted such as  Intel, AEP, GE and more.

Perhaps there should be a category for Past Winners. Anyone who has won in any category in 3 prior years gets to be in a Best of the Past Winners category ? That might give due recognition to those who have shown themselves to be ahead of the pack, whilst clearing the floor for some new names on the leaderboard. A sort of creme de la creme award.

Just a thought. Hey, that's what blogs are for, right ? Maybe someone will run an award for the best csr reporting blog ?  hahaha

elaine cohen is the CEO of Beyond Business, a leading social and environmental consulting and reporting firm. Visit our website at  


FabianPattberg said...

Hi Elaine. I would actually love to see a category for the past winners. Seventh Generation winning so many awards is a good sign but gets boring eventually.

And it gives the impression that there are no new companies out there reporting on their CSR activities.

Mehrdad Nazari said...

Hi Elaine, I rest my case... ;-)

elaine said...

hi fabian, thanks for your reply! elaine

elaine said...

hello Mehrdad, yes, I thought of your post when I wrote mine! And yes, reporting awards tend to confirm that the best reporters win year after year. This shows that world -class, consistent reporting always seems to shine through. However, this does not appear to prevent companies reporting, with around 20%of all reports being first reports year on year, nor does it stop them from entering awards. So, dont rest your case just yet :)
thanks for commmenting, elaine

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