Tuesday, October 23, 2012

CRRA'13 - here we go!

It's that time of the year again. CRRA time. The call for entries for CRRA '13 is now open. For the uninitiated, CRRA stands for Corporate Responsibility Reporting Awards (or CorporateRegister Reporting Awards!) and it's the brainchild of CorporateRegister.com,  the largest online directory site for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability reports, numbering over 44,000 reports from over 9,000 companies to date.
CorporateRegister.com is the go-to place for reports and reporting information and is one of my absolutely favorite, and mostly used, sites.
CRRA '13 will be the sixth annual global online reporting awards and it is truly unique in its reach and scope. You can see the winning line-up for CRRA '12 on their website here, and read about it in my posts here (the winners) and here (the winning SME report from Beyond Business!).
This year, the contest is for reports published between 1st October 2011 and 26th October 2012 and profiled on CorporateRegister.com. There are also two important new changes for this year's format:
First: Change to the categories.
The SME category has slipped off the edge - which is a big shame - one of my fave categories and a sector badly in need of encouragement for Sustainability Reporting. I guess there are still too few SME's who are taking the plunge. But SME's can still enter the other categories.
There is a new category for Innovation in Reporting, designed to reflect new and creative practices "which may be adopted by other companies and help reporting evolve". Innovation can come in many forms - whether it be in structure or design, involvement of stakeholders, application of different guidelines and formats, infographics, new ways of presenting data and more. We are all seeking ways to make reporting more appealing, more accessible, more readable, more widely used and more impactful. Perhaps this category will help us get some new ideas for the reports of the future.

There is another new category - Best Non-Business Report - which is a very welcome addition and will enable not-for-profit organizations, government bodies or cities, universities or other academic institutions or trade associations - just about any organization that is not a business - to gain exposure. This is a great step forward, as non-business sectors have been slowly but steadily increasing their reporting output and there are some impressive reports around. Some of them are large organizations which, in addition to their often socially-oriented mission, must demonstrate accountability for the away they operate and the impacts they generate. Non-business reporters can also enter the other categories, but can now also compete in their own level playing field in this new category as well.
Second: Changes to the selection and voting procedures.
After checking that reports are relevant for the categories they have applied to compete in, all valid entries will be assessed for overall quality by a panel of academics, using the CorporateRegister.com proprietary ‘3C’ framework (Content, Communications, Credibility). Each report will be rated against this framework, irrespective of the categories the reports are competing in. The ten highest rated reports for each category will be short-listed. These reports will then be presented to voters using the online voting platform that we are familiar with from previous year CRRAs. The winners and runners-up in each specific category will be determined by this open online voting process.
This is very different from previous CRRAs in which all reports entered were directly open to the public for voting, generating 20 or 30 reports in each category, or more, clearly making it impossible to review all reports and provide a balanced vote. This way, voters can decide amongst the very ‘best’ reports, after an independent, objective and balanced short-listing process, using neutral assessors working within a structured framework. Voters will see only ten reports per category, which offers a manageable possibility of reviewing each report prior to making a selection.  
I like this change, and while it will be disappointing for those not short-listed, it will probably offer a much more balanced competition.

As usual, CRRA will be maintaining a strict voting integrity mechanism which prevents people for voting for their own company and other multiple voting attempts which skew results. This is a strength of the CRRA platform and gives confidence that the final results are fair and representative.  

Entries are due for submission by 26th October. (Hurry if you are entering your report!) Voting will take place between November and January. The results will be announced at a Gala Evening in Spring 2013.
Published a report last year ?
If so, this is the time to seek some recognition. Reporting is not only a responsibility, it's an art. It's not just about reporting, it's about  compelling communication. It's not about the winning, it's about the doing. But if you get to win, well, that's pretty inspiring. We can all learn from great reports.

Watch this space for a review of the short-listed reports as soon as they are public. 

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, winning (CRRA'12) Sustainability Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices    Contact me via www.twitter.com/elainecohen   on Twitter or via my business website www.b-yond.biz  (Beyond Business Ltd, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm)

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