Friday, 21 February 2014 00:00
The ACCA Sri Lanka Sustainability Reporting Awards, which reaches its 10-year milestone in rewarding Sri Lanka’s most transparent entities takes place on 25 February at Cinnamon Grand under the aegis of British High Commissioner John Rankin as Chief Guest.
Based on the concept that businesses perform better by using sustainability reporting as a tool to measure, monitor and report their actions and the impacts those actions have on stakeholders, the ACCA Sri Lanka Sustainability Reporting Awards has gained immense momentum since its inception nine years ago.
This is amply evidenced by the number of reports submitted for the awards process reaching a record high with over a 100% increase in submissions.
This year’s awards will move away from the past years’ conventional winning categories, focusing rather on industry sectors and an overall winner. The six sectors being highlighted are in Manufacturing, Banking, Finance and Insurance, Leisure and Services which would also include non-profit organisations and the public sector, Agriculture and Plantations, Diversified Organisations that deal with a large product portfolio and Retail and Trading.
Each sector will have a winner and runner up and an overall winner and a runner up from all reports submitted.
In evaluating the reports, judges used completeness, credibility and communication as the criteria. As mentioned by the Panel of Judges, “Completeness would be judged from ascertaining if the report enables the reader to form a complete view of the organisation’s operations and impacts. It should comprise the CEO’s view on sustainability, how central is this concern to the organisation and to what extent is the management’s commitment. The manner in which the key aspects of the organisations’ environment, community and financial viability is presented will also be assessed.”
Credibility of the information
They also concur that credibility of the information presented becomes important including having the right policies and contingency plans, appropriate personnel in place, compliance to the laws of the country, information gathering systems, management systems and targets which are designed to achieve sustainable development and accounting for sustainability projects.
Continuity of sustainability activities and its verification and audit of activities will also be scrutinised. “The report will also be evaluated in the way it communicates information. The judges will look at simplicity, layout and comprehension of data, its understandability and readability, innovativeness of the material presented and adoption of GRI guidelines.”
The range of reports submitted by various sectors underwent a stringent marking process derived from the Global Reporting Initiative Guidelines and also the newer integrated reporting concept. It is a strong belief at ACCA that sustainability reporting can prepare firms to avoid or mitigate environmental and social risks that may have impacts on their business, helping organisations to gain a better reputation and win shareholder and stakeholder trust, as well as improve access to capital.
The awards are endorsed by the Ministry of Environment and Global Compact Network Ceylon and rewards those entities who have gone beyond the boundaries of compliance to truly ‘walk the talk’.