At today’s inaugural New Zealand Sustainability Reporting Awards held by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Waitakere City Council’s Annual Report (2008-2009) was judged Best Report.
The report was one of 20 Sustainability Reports in the ACCAs’ first stand alone awards for New Zealand following ten years of a joint Australia / New Zealand judging process. Entries to the prestigious awards included local government and organisations representing industry, utilities, goods and services, transport and the financial sector.
The awards recognise excellence in sustainability reporting incorporating environmental and social impacts. Companies are judged based on the transparency in their reporting and how well they communicate their sustainability performance. Reports must achieve a high level of credibility and provide evidence of the integration of sustainability issues within the business processes and strategy of their organization.
Michaela Campbell, Head of ACCA Australia and New Zealand said:
“We took the decision this year to introduce separate awards to allow the judges who are experts from a range of disciplines to recognise the unique challenges and sustainability issues for New Zealand organisations. Whilst it has been a very tough year for reporting because of the global financial crisis, we are delighted that so many organisations continue to report or have started to report. The number of New Zealand reports entering this year’s awards has quadrupled in two years.”
As it starts a new era, the new Auckland region took honours. Waitakere City Council as Best Report and Watercare Services as Runner Up – Best Report. This is the eight year that Watercare has been honoured by ACCA.
The judges noted that the standard of the Local Government reports submitted were examples of best practice Council reporting across Australasia and that Waitakere’s report was of a world class standard.
Lyn Mayes of the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development, one of nine judges for the awards, says:-
“Having judged reports for ACCA on both sides of the Tasman, Waitakere City’s annual report is one of the best local government reports and the judges believe it worthy of being New Zealand’s best report to be included in ACCA’s global reporting awards. If Auckland is to adopt the best practices from across its region, we strongly recommend to its leaders the reporting practices established by Waitakere City.”
Reports need to be credible, complete and able to communicate to their stakeholders. Organisations do not need to be perfect but they do need to be transparent. This year we have noted a strong move particularly in the financial sector towards integrating New Zealand into Australian based reports, which reduces their relevance to New Zealand stakeholders and effectively short changes them.“
Contact Energy wins the Best New Zealand Stock Exchange Top-50 listed company with judges noting the way that the company addressed its handling of electricity supply issues and pricing and for being the only organisation to seek full external assurance.
Christchurch International Airport wins the Best SME sector with the judges noting particularly how the organisation is integrated into the community and understands its obligations about aircraft noise and landing.
The Best first-time reporter is ASB which was recognised for its substantial coverage of its New Zealand business.
A copy of the Judges’ Report may be downloaded from http://www.accaglobal.com/