The 10 Best Austrian Sustainability Reports
Earlier this month I was honored to give the keynote speech at the Austrian Sustainability Reporting Awards (ASRA). I spoke about the importance of reporting, the challenges of reporting and the dynamic world of reporting and current trends. I likened publishing a Sustainability Report to winning the World Cup.
Here's a section from my speech:
With reporting, though, we always seem to dwell on the difficult aspects. We rarely think about reporting in positive terms. Working towards winning the World Cup has many benefits along the way. Everyone – the team and the individuals in it enhance their performance, learn new things, and achieve higher levels of dialogue, teamwork and effectiveness. Even if they don't win the World Cup, each team has gained through participation in the process. One of my favorite experiences when I am writing sustainability reports for clients is when, during the reporting process, people say to me: "We didn’t know that about our company!". Sustainability reporting is a journey of discovery and empowerment, not just a dreaded task that we must complete. With the World Cup, no-one ever asks – Why are we doing this? No-one says: Why on earth should we compete?
And yet, with sustainability reporting, there is always someone who asks the inevitable question:
All of this is why the hard work of the Chamber of Public Accountants in Vienna, in collaboration with several other organizations, including respACT, the Austrian Business Council for Sustainable Development, an organization doing fabulous work to promote CSR in Austria, is so important. Through the annual ASRA awards, greater awareness for transparency in business and voluntary reporting is advanced. ASRA is an important tool in driving this market forward. Kudos to the winners, who were:
Palfinger : GRI-checked A+ Report, 105 pages. Palfinger is a large group, with 47 companies in 23 countries and 5,600 employees. They make industrial cranes and forklifts (lifting, loading and handling solutions). This report is their fifth. Four-year comparative data is presented and Palfinger has more than halved CO2 emissions per ton of product in the past two years.
Verbund : GRI A+ Report, 96 pages. Verbund is Austria’s leading utility and one of the largest producers of hydroelectricity in Europe, operating 123 hydropower plants in Austria and Germany and employing over 3,000 people. Verbund generates around 40% of Austria's total electricity output. Verbund has been producing reports since 1997. This is an interesting report with much local color and context.
OeKB : GRI A+ Report, 85 pages. Oesterreichische Kontrollbank Aktiengesellschaft is Austria's main provider of financial and information services to the export industry and the capital market, employing 400 people. This report contains a specific response by OeKB to the first 27 Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Austria Glass Recycling (AGR) : GRI A+ Report, 55 pages. AGR has 9 employees and organizes the collecting and recycling of used glass packaging throughout Austria. AGR is a non-profit company. In 2010, AGR collected 227,000 tons of glass waste of which 85% was routed for recycling. This is an informative report with much information about the state of glass recycling in Austria.
Voeslauer: GRI B+ Report, 40 pages. Founded in 1935 with 170 employees, Voeslauer has sales of around EUR88 million and produces natural mineral water. This is the first time the Voeslauer report follows the GRI guidelines.
Kaerntnermilch : GRI A Report, 50 pages. Kaertner, founded in 1928, employs 169 people, supplying milk and white and yellow cheeses, working with over 1,600 supply farmers in the Austrian region. This is the company's second report.
VBV Vorsorgekasse AG : GRI-checked A+ Report, 76 pages. This is the sixth integrated report from the Vorseogekasse, founded in 2002, which employs 32 employees, administering provident funds. The report contains a detailed stakeholder dialogue reported in the form of an interview with a stakeholder panel.
oekostrom AG: GRI A Report, 63 pages. oekostrom has 28 employees and is involved in the supply of energy production and trade as an Austrian investment company owned by approximately 2,000 shareholders. The company was founded in 1999 with the aim of building a sustainable energy future, to supply customers across Austria with "green" energy and the expansion of renewable energy sources in Austria. The report contains some great shots of oekostrom employees who are obviously having fun being green!
EVN AG : GRI A+ Report, 185 pages. EVN has 8,250 employees, of which 2,500 are in Austria. EVN is an energy and environmental services company, offering electricity, gas, heat, water, waste incineration and related services to more than one million customers in Austria and with additional operations in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Germany and Croatia, serving more than 3.7 million customers in total. The report is entirely online with chapter downloads.
(In addition to these nine corporate reports, the Vienna University of Agricultural Sciences won the public agency reporting category with an impressive report which you can see here. At GRI level A+ and 164 pages, this is a highly detailed report which even contains sections for kids!)
Interestingly, all winning reports are GRI based, all but one at Application Level A. As with many markets, the line-up includes a predominance of energy companies (30%) and financial services (20%), with other sectors in ecological services, food and beverage and industrial equipment.
elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainability Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of : CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices (read more on www.csrforhr.com) Founding partner at BeyondBusiness Ltd (www.b-yond.biz/en) consulting to companies on CSR strategy, processes and sustainability communications.
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