Saturday, September 24, 2011

Reporting awards CRRA '12: call for entries

This is the time of the year that I love in Sustainability Reporting. It's the start of the Reporting Awards, CRRA '12, now entering its fifth cycle. The CRRA have earned a global reputation as credible and authoritative awards for sustainability reporting drawing thousands of voters on a broad range of globally published Sustainability Reports. What could be more exciting that voting for great Sustainability Reports? Ha-ha. Whatever your answer, CRRA is an exciting event, culminating in a grand award ceremony for the best of the best,  drawing attention to some of the most impressive work around in Sustainability Reporting, showcasing not only the big and bold reporting efforts of leading multi-nationals but also the lesser known reports of SME's and first time reporters. I am particularly excited about CRRA '12 because this is the first year that I actually have been able to submit my own company's Sustainability Report. If you believe, as I do, that Transparency is the Key to Sustainability , then you will welcome the CRRA '12 as a platform which advances transparency and inspires companies to (better) reporting.

This year, the Call for Entries for reports published between 1 October 2010 and 30 September 2011 is open until October 7th 2011 and there are a limited number of slots in each category, so those wanting to assure a place in the line-up should act quickly. The numbers of report entries are limited so that voters are not overwhelmed with thousands of reports  - after all - reading and voting for reports is not the ONLY thing we will be doing until the voting closes, right ? Oh, voting closes in January 2012 and results will be announced at the Gala Ceremony in March 2012. Here is the link for submission of your report.

All reporters entering the Awards get feedback about the voting and comments on their report after the results are published. This is quite detailed showing the distribution of votes, which categories of stakeholder viewed the report and all the comments received. Take a look at a sample feedback report here. And if you have not published a report, don't worry, because CRRA is the only reporting awards event (I think) that actually offers prizes for voters and not just entrants :)

As in previous years, there are nine categories:

Best Overall Report: Voters are encouraged to consider's 5 C framework : Content, Communication, Credibility, Commitment, Comparability.
Best 1st time report: For a company’s first non-financial report. The first is always the toughest. 
Best SME report: The CRRA definition of SME (small and medium enterprise) is fewer than 250 employees and annual turnover of less than EUR50m.
Best integrated report: For the report that most successfully integrates the financial and non-financial disclosures - emphasis being on integration rather than juxtaposition.
Best Carbon Disclosure: For the best disclosure of the carbon emissions, implications for climate change, and the mitigation measures.   
Creativity in Communications: CRRA say that this award is "for a report which is a real pleasure to read, because the authors have given thought to both the content and the reader, delivering a document which is engaging and informative and not boring and unimaginative." A sustainability report which is a real pleasure to read is NOT an oxymoron. Ha-ha. 
Relevance and Materiality: This award is for the report which cuts to the chase and tells us about the material issues (ie those specific to the company performance and sector, the risks and opportunities), clearly and succinctly. A short report which gives us the relevant information should win over a blockbuster of several hundred pages.
Openness and Honesty: This award is for the report which comes clean, tells both the good and the bad news, and which convinces us that this is a balanced picture.
Credibility through Assurance: This award is a joint award for the reporting company and the external assurance body and is awarded for the assurance statement which adds the most credibility to the overall report.

However, there is one welcome addition to this year's' entry requirements. Reporters are asked to submit Key Report Highlights, to help readers get to the key differentiating points that make the report vote-worthy.

I have been pestering for years now to include a reporting award for the report which has the most mentions of ice-cream but somehow this suggestion has not been popular. I can understand that. Ten categories would be rather stretching. 

And if you want to see last year's entrants and winners, click here.
And if you want to see what I said about last year's entrants and winners, click here.

So, if you have published a Sustainability Report, worked on a Sustainability Report, assured a Sustainability Report or know a Sustainability Report which you think should have a chance of global recognition, now's the time to make sure it gets in the CRRA 12 line-up.

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainability Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices   Contact me via  on Twitter or via my business website  (BeyondBusiness, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm)

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