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4 Business Council Members win ACCA Awards

8 May 2006

Four Business Council Members win in ACCA's Sustainability Reporting Awards

WaterCare Services has been honoured with an award for Continued High-Quality Sustainability Reporting in this year's Australia and New Zealand awards, conducted by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and endorsed by the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Three New Zealand companies, URS New Zealand, IAG New Zealand and Vodafone New Zealand have also won commendations for Achievements in Sustainability Reporting.

"WaterCare has demonstrated high quality reporting ever since it began entering these awards and has been a joint winner or outright winner in 2004 and 2005. Its report continues to be absolutely top-notch in terms of content, scope, relevance to key issues for the organisation and integration of sustainability and financial reporting, "said Richard Francis, ACCA's Head of Australia and New Zealand.

Vodafone New Zealand received a commendation in acknowledgement for addressing its main sustainability issues for the telecommunications sector and clearly communicating these to its stakeholders.

Another New Zealand company URS received a commendation as recognition for being the first consultancy to address the sustainability impacts which it has on itself and on its clients. And to round off the evening, IAG New Zealand was the third organization to be commended for its first report which communicates its sustainability issues clearly and is very easy to understand by its target audience – its customers.

Lyn Mayes of the Business Council who was one of ten judges for this year's awards said that as the only New Zealand judge on the panel, it was refreshing to see that of 36 reports submitted from Australian and New Zealand organisations, four of the seven award winner were New Zealand companies.

"This is particularly rewarding because organisations that entered the awards are generally among the top performers in their industry sectors, demonstrating the link between an organisation's consideration of sustainability issues and strong business performance. To have four Business Council members winning awards shows that our member's commitment to transparent reporting on their social and environmental as well as their financial performance is recognised in these prestigious awards."

"The Business Council is now running its 4th series of workshops to help first time sustainability reporters. The judges mentioned in their report that they would like to encourage companies to challenge themselves to become more innovative in the way they report and this is something which we are now addressing through a Masterclass series for companies that have been reporting for some time."

Although it did not win an award, the judges also congratulated The Warehouse for being the first stand alone retailer to enter a comprehensive sustainability report. The Warehouse was also congratulated for its inclusion of sustainability information relating to its supply chain and in particular detail on its China based suppliers. The judges would like to strongly encourage other reporters to follow this lead and to report on their supply chains at home and overseas.

ACCA believe that every organisation which takes the time to prepare a report containing its sustainability issues and impacts should be recognised. In saying that however too few Australia and New Zealand organisations produce sustainability information. According to figures from Australia's Department of the Environment and Heritage which co-sponsors the awards with KPMG, of the 486 companies they surveyed only 24 percent produce a sustainability report which indicates their remains an opportunity for many more organisations to consider collecting, collating and reporting the type of information and accordingly see the same benefits being accrued by those reporting. It is estimated that this percentage is the same of less for New Zealand organisations.

ACCA's London based Head of Social and Environmental Issues Rachel Jackson presented the awards at a ceremony in Auckland and talked about trends in sustainability reporting and the challenges for New Zealand organisations.


For information

ACCA Presentation to New Zealand companies: 6.15 pm, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Auckland, 8 May 2006

Other Awards to

• Victorian credit union "mecu" won the overall award for Best Sustainability Report.

• Australian Ethical Investment won the award for Continued High Quality SME reporting; and

• BHP Billiton has won the award for Sustainability Communication using the Internet.

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