The Global View

Dell, Ford net sustainability gongs

leaves.jpgGreenbang’s not one for prize-giving, mainly because the last time she picked up an accolade was a Blue Peter badge at aged eight. But she’s feeling generous today, so she’ll share the news of some winners in the world of sustainability for those currently wondering how to pep up their CSR reports.

(Hint to CSR writers: obfuscation does you no favours).

Ceres and the Association of Chartered Accountants (or the ACCA) have published their latest list of gold stars for good sustainability reporting and Ford & The Timberland Company have both come out on top, with gongs also going to Suncor Energy and Dell.

It looks like environmental reporting is now part of any sustainability reporting grab bag.

According to Ceres and ACCA, the Ford report got top marks because it “discloses quantified data for product emissions, including average tailpipe emissions per vehicle complete with industry benchmarking” and “is transparent about Ford’s key challenges, specifically with regards to climate change and the changing regulatory landscape.”

Suncor also picked up its nod for best climate change reporting for including “a supplemental climate change focused report, which analyzes the company’s progress on its climate change action plan” in it report and “provid[ing] context for the risks and opportunities of climate change for Suncor and includes an explanation of the main corporate strategies for addressing those risks and opportunities.”

If you’re wanting to polish up your efforts in the environmental reporting sector, here are some tips from the Ceres/ACCA judges:

Only a limited number of reporters discussed the physical risks of climate change. H.J. Heinz Company, for example, acknowledged the risks that decreased water availability could have on tomato production, and TELUS discussed a strategy to mitigate damage to its telecommunications infrastructure from climate-related events. Otherwise, most reporters were silent on these risks and the strategies in place to address them.

As governments begin to address climate change by adopting new regulations that limit greenhouse gas emissions, many companies will face significant regulatory risk. To help investors understand these risks, companies should disclose:
• Any known trends, events, demands, commitments, and uncertainties stemming from climate change that are reasonably likely to have a material effect on financial condition or operating performance.
• A list of all greenhouse gas regulations that have been imposed in the countries in which the company operates and an assessment of the potential financial impact of those rules.
• The company’s expectations concerning the future cost of carbon resulting from emissions reductions of five, ten, and twenty percent below 2000 levels by 2015.

Some reporters in heavy emitting sectors such as electric power, autos and oil and gas acknowledged that climate change regulations were on the horizon and could have an impact on competitiveness. Ford, for example, described the changing regulatory landscape in the regions of the world where it operates and noted that the growing regulation of emissions could have a significant impact on financial performance.

Few companies discussed the varying greenhouse gas regulations they faced in different jurisdictions or assessed their financial impacts. No reporters outlined expectations with regards to the anticipated cost of future, mandated greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

Naturally, there’s more here.