After much deliberation and discussions the winners and highly commended companies in ten categories were announced on 4 May 2010 at the Responsible Business Summit in London. Here's who won, and why.
Last week in London at the Responsible Business Summit in London hundreds of executives gathered to celebrate innovative practice by companies in the field of corporate responsibility.
SAP were Principal Sponsor of the awards, and the Individual Leader category.
Below are descriptions of the ten categories and the winners and commended companies in each.
New technology is the key to a more sustainable business. This award seeks out the company who has developed or commercialised a technological innovation that has the potential to, or is already, making a serious impact on helping a company or industry sector move further towards sustainability, faster.
In the category of Sustainability Technology, here's who was Highly Commended by our judges
In October 2009, this company opened the beauty industry’s first plant, in Libramont, Belgium, that is carbon neutral and uses 100% green energy. The first of its kind in Europe, the centre employs state-of-the-art technology to transform biomass from local farmers and the agro-alimentary industry into methane gas, which provides electricity and heat to the plant.The plant provides 100% of the plant’s electricity and 80% of its heat. In this way, more green electricity is generated than required by the factory alone, allowing the surplus power, which is enough to meet the needs of about 4,000 households – to be injected into the public grid.
For a sector sometimes behind the curve, it was excellent to see innovation both on the drawing board and delivered in practice.
The highly commended company in this category is L'Oreal.
Agriculture in India uses over 80% of the country’s water. India is among the largest rice growers in the world. This company's R&D team perfected direct seeding of rice in 2009 and extended it to 6500 acres throughout India resulting in a savings of 5.5 billion liters of water. This significant reduction of water use helped the company achieve positive water balance – giving back more water than the business consumed. The company gives Indian farmers free access to the special seeding tractors and to field technicians who guide them through the cultivation process. The technology is also reducing costs for farmers by 1,400 rupees per acre compared to traditional methods. An Indian government body said in 2009 that direct seeding also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by over 70%.
The judges felt this solution is an integrated solution to several related problems, water, greenhouse gas emissions in land use and food security. It has made a difference to both poverty alleviation and development. The initiative has also provided technology access that can bring great benefit to Indian stakeholders.
The winner in this category is PepsiCo, for their Direct Seeding of Rice Technology: Providing “more crop per drop” in India.
This category was sponsored by AdvanceAid
This award goes to the partnership between organisations that in the view of the judges, has done most, publicly, and behind the scenes to deliver an improved sustainability-based outcome on a particular issue or strategy.
Highly commended in this category is a UK hard landscaping specialist which has re-branded its Indian sandstone products to a new, self created "Fairstone" label. The change was introduced following a 4 year programme in India, working in partnership with its sole Indian sandstone supplier and a regional NGO, Hadoti Hast Shilp Sansthan.
The company is implementing the Ethical Trading Initiative’s (ETI) Base Code and provides health camps and schools for the children of quarry workers and, in 2009, employed a full time field-based social auditor.
The company deserves credit for a focused effort to solve a serious supply chain problem that others in the sector often ignore.
The highly commended company in this category is Marshalls and Hadot i for the "Fairstone" model of supply chain sustainability
This entry is for a partnership on protecting children’s rights from exploitation in travel and tourism. The company was the first major American company to join the Child-Protection Code of Conduct (www.thecode.org) in April 2004.
The Code is a global, voluntary initiative developed by ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking), and supported by UNWTO and UNICEF. The company also created a training kit in a “meeting in a box” format containing a Managers’ Guide, as well as visual presentation of seven real-life scenarios that hotel personnel can encounter, for assessing and recognizing potential situations of sexual exploitation of children.
UNICEF applauds the collaboration between the company and the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct, as one of the best examples of corporate citizenship partnerships for the protection of children from sexual exploitation.
The company has shown exemplary thought leadership in a sector that often lacks serious strategic action on corporate responsibility. In seriously addressing an important area that is often perceived as a taboo in the travel sector, this company has performed great work on an issue many firms in the industry both overlook and ignore.
The winner is Carlson and the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct
This award rewards the organization, large or small, which has done the most to demonstrate new ideas, creativity and innovation in reporting on sustainability and corporate responsibility.
Our highly commended entry has developed a bespoke management system that provides an in-depth understanding of sustainability performance. They have gathered data from over 30 operations across the globe and transparently reported on their performance across ten different corporate responsibility criteria on-line. These results are presented in a user-friendly format of graphs, grouped by geographical region. The visitor is then able to further investigate the data by clicking on the individual operation to view their data.
Through truly innovative reporting this company has demonstrated transparency and replicability on country comparisons around the world. Stakeholders can clearly see progress and challenges in an easy to read format. Readers can find vital information and navigate around the reporting website very easily.
Highly commended in this category is SAB Miller for their Sustainability Assessment Matrix (SAM).
The company has developed a web portal to give stakeholders real time access to its CR performance.
The portal is effectively a 'window' into the company's database and allows the user to review performance on a site by site, month by month basis against each of the company's social and environmental KPIs.
No content is edited, the company provides complete transparency.
Stakeholders interested in the company's carbon or water intensity, accident frequency or waste management can now view data from as recently as 5 weeks ago and can monitor performance trends against targets month by month.
This B2B company is truly innovative in providing regular key corporate responsibility information to key stakeholders in a B2B environment. This example shows how companies can be transparent to customers and has developed a model, that if applied to other sectors, could have transformational effects in terms of prominance and traceability.
The winner of this award is Produce World for their unique and innovative approach to sustainability reporting.
In 2009, this company commissioned its third independent customer survey to find out what customers really thought of the company and its approach to business, as well as to identify what it could do to improve. The company then published this feedback online, both positive and negative, sending emails to thousands of customers to let them know about it and putting a prominent link on the corporate website.
Putting negative feedback into the public domain is controversial and potentially risky. The company first took this bold step in 2007, and remains the only real estate company to adopt such a transparent approach.
This company deserves to be highly commended for going way beyond usual disclosure and showing, warts and all, how their customers are reacting to how they work with them.
And highly commended in this category is British Land, for the publishing of their British Land Occupier Survey 2009
In autumn 2009, the company launched a unique campaign, a global movement encouraging consumers to challenge government leaders attending the COP15 conference to set standards for emissions.
Individuals could make their voices heard by signing an online petition or by going to Facebook.com or a specific website.
In addition to signing the petition, visitors could learn about climate change and stay up-to-date on COP15 happenings.
Dispatches were also posted to the company's YouTube channel, which received over 40,000 views during the campaign. The company also used traditional advertising and social networks like Twitter and Facebook to get the word out about the campaign and the importance of addressing climate change now.
The CEO regularly engaged Twitter followers with Tweets about COP15 and the issue of climate change. The CEO appeared on several top-tier business programs, including Fox Business and the UK’s Sky News and More4, to raise awareness for the campaign
The company deserves this accolade for engaging in genuine campaigning around vitally important emissions reduction issues. On Haiti, on Copenhagen, and sustainability generally.
And the winner is, Timberland for their "Don’t Tell Us It Can’t Be Done" campaign.
This campaign is an example of how a small, dedicated and passionate team with a clear rationale and effective approach can have an impact on a $30 billion dollar industry. This public campaign to press retailers to only sell ‘clean cotton’ has had a rapid and major impact on businesses resulting in significant gains for social and environmental justice including the creation of a National Action Plan and signing of two ILO conventions by the Uzbek Government on child labour and significant progress towards a global ban on toxic pesticide endosulfan. The campaign has changed the CSR policies of over 40 of the world’s largest retailers including ASDA / Wal-Mart and Tesco, who have taken the unprecedented action of eliminating cotton from the world’s third largest exporter, Uzbekistan, from their supply chains until a time when the abuses of State-orchestrated child labour are resolved.
This NGOs' work was the major cause of changing how major European and US retailers considered cotton sourcing and began implementing tracking systems, once said to be impossible.
Highly commended in this category is The Environmental Justice Foundation for their ‘Pick Your Cotton Carefully’ campaign.
This NGO's work on the largest global driver of deforestation, the Brazilian cattle industry, has led to the four major suppliers of beef and leather products in Brazil signing a ‘no deforestation’ commitment as a result of pressure from their global and domestic corporate customers. Companies who implemented new commitments as a result included Nike, Adidas, Timberland, Clarks and other members of the Leather Working group. A coalition of corporates in Brazil led by Walmart introduced strong new
Anti-deforestation policies in relation to cattle, taking key suppliers with them in these commitments. Brazilian companies agreed to sign up to a moratorium on further deforestation for cattle ranching in October 2009. And a 2009 report, ‘Illegal Forest Clearance and RSPO Greenwash; Case Studies of Sinar Mas’ led to the largest global consumer of palm oil suspending contracts with this company
The judges felt this campaign group has been responsible for highly effective interventions on causes of deforestation that for many years have proved resistant to outside pressure. Through clever strategic targeting and communications, the winner has applied pressure to companies that has led to rapid and major changes in business activity in the leather, beef, and palm oil industries in particular
The winner is Greenpeace for their ‘no deforestation’ campaigning during 2009.
This company has adapted its organization and product offering to the rural markets. it's Arogya Parivar project follows a decentralized model. Each cell has health educators and supervisors who collaborate with local health professionals, pharmacy chains and NGOs to address the whole "patient flow," including education, diagnosis, treatment, delivery, and availability and accessibility of medicines. Through this initiative the company has improved access to healthcare for 42 million underserved patients in rural India. Arogya Parivar conducts health education programmes at the grassroots level, with the help of 300 health educators recruited from among villagers themselves. Collectively, they collaborate with 22,000+ doctors, 17,000 pharmacies and many NGOs to address the whole “patient flow,” including education, diagnosis, treatment, delivery, and availability and accessibility of medicines. The company supplies 56 product lines from its Pharma, Generics and OTC businesses that address 11 high prevalence disease areas. In 2010 this is being expanded to include vaccines and more generic medicines from the company's portfolio, and potentially through alliances with other companies.
The company was highly commended in this category for delivering a health service in India that is urgently needed by a challenging customer group. The company has been breaking new ground by making affordable medicines into a profitable business. The judges felt the company is challenging the existing business models of the sectors. The company is also to be congratulated for seeking to now roll out the business model into other new emerging markets such as Kenya and China.
And the highly commended company in this category is Novartis for "Arogya Parivar" (Healthy Families)
This company has built a formidable reputation in socially responsible investment, positioning SRI as central to its corporate identity and a key area for commercial success going forward. It launched Europe’s first ethically-screened investment fund in 1984.
The company has actively developed the following new responsible investment products: Euro-denominated Ethical Bond, Private Equity Climate Opportunities Fund of Funds, Sustainable Sharia Opportunities, and ESG Emerging Market Equities.
Today the company manages five different environmental, social and governance (ESG) fund strategies representing assets of over £3 billion and their innovative Responsible Engagement Overlay (reo®) service now applies to over £80 billion of assets on behalf of both internal and external clients, an increase of 61.6% from March 2009.
During 2009 the firm engaged over 6,500 global companies on relevant environmental, social and governance issues.
Our winners have utilised the power of the investment sector for positive change. The judges felt the company is protecting future company value and encouraging the seizing of new opportunities. In the view of the judges they are is taking a rigorous approach to engagement that both meets the needs of their clients and delivers company engagement as a profitable service to their clients in a competitive market.
The winner is F&C for their "Governance & Sustainable Investment Strategy".
Greenwasher of the year
Chosen by Ethical Corporation’s global team of journalists, this award, obviously non-entry goes to a company, which continues to do considerable environmental damage whilst professing to be sustainable. This company was chosen because the company has for many years claimed to be protecting invaluable Indonesian forests whilst continuing to be a major cause of deforestation in the country with regard to both timber and palm oil. Despite brand boycotts of its products, Sinar Mas/APP continues to insist it is on the right sustainability path, and spends notable subs on green PR and social media advertising professing its commitment to sustainability whilst continuing to be pilloried by respectable and credible environmental NGOs and disowned by large companies.
This category was sponsored by Accenture
This company, a leading hard landscaping specialist, is committed to reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 in line with Government targets. Their carbon reduction programme incorporates a range of initiatives, including a company-wide carbon management programme, carbon labelling and energy saving initiatives for employees.
The company has been recognised in the category of outstanding performance in corporate responsibility for taking a lead on low carbon products in the home improvement sector, which often not prominent in corporate responsibility.
The company has also raised awareness in the home improvement and built environment sector often dis-engaged in the debate.
The highly commended company in this category is Marshalls.
Our winner launched a new and innovative product range in January 2008. It has now achieved sales in excess of 1 million units of clothing, and it is the fastest growing product line within the Company’s product offer.
To date this ambitious initiative has been shown to have reduced the carbon footprint of the product line by up to 90%.
The idea was to develop a blueprint for ethical and sustainable manufacturing - organic and ethically made, but crucially, manufactured solely using sustainable energy generated from wind power.
Every stage of the production process was examined, and best practices applied, reducing the social and environmental damage normally associated with cotton farming and textile production. The company has also worked with independent verifiers in each key area
As a result of the company’s commitment to reduce its impact on the environment, and specifically with regard to the climate, the company was accepted as the first business-to-business (B2B) company, and the only textile company, to participate in The Carbon Trust’s product carbon footprinting and labelling initiative.
The judges were impressed by the sheer scale of the company’s sustainability ambition, and by the fact they have achieved a huge amount in a short time. Continental have shown real leadership in their sector, and found solutions where other people have just talked about problems. The judges were particularly impressed by the fact that this company is taking the lead as a B2B company.
The winner is Continental Clothing, for their EarthPositive® Apparel.
This former CEO and chairperson has been instrumental in driving sustainability strategy and implementation to an exceptional degree for both her own 23 person company as well as the outdoor industry in the US.
She has been designing and directing a multi-year, metrics-based path to a sustainable business model since 2006.
As a result of her work the company has made significant strides in reducing its environmental impacts.
The company uses a majority of Environmentally Preferred Materials in its products by mass (they are now at 67%); achieves 100% compliance with their factory fair labor Code of Conduct; and uses zero percent restricted or banned substances in any product.
The company is also set to soon achieve a 30% absolute greenhouse gas emissions reduction (not including offsets) through targeted emissions reductions strategies whilst despite doubling sales.
During her term as Chairman of the Board of the Outdoor Industry Association, the association established the OIA Eco Working, a coalition of over 150 companies that is working to create industry-wide environmental and social sustainability standards and tools.
We felt this leader deserves to be highly commended for showing real sustainability leadership in a small business.
Highly commended in this category is Kim Coupounas, co-founder of Go-Lite.
This CEO strongly believes that his company will only succeed as a business if it uses its resources and influence to make a real and sustainable difference to the lives of people in the developing world. With millions of people worldwide lacking access to healthcare, new approaches are urgently needed.
Under his leadership the company has substantially reduced the price of its patented medicines in least developed countries (LDCs) to 25% of developed world prices and is adopting more flexible pricing structures for middle income countries too.
His firm is reinvesting 20% of its profits from sales of medicines in LDCs to support strengthening of healthcare infrastructure. This will provide sustainable long-term funding.
A knowledge pool is giving researchers access to the company's intellectual property and know-how. 13,500 compounds from GSK’s library which have shown activity against the malaria parasite have been made freely available online. This is a first for the industry.
His commitment to transparency has led to an increase in reporting on key business practices, from disclosing speaking and consulting fees for healthcare professionals to making available results from all clinical trials to advance scientific understanding. He has committed GSK to tough climate change targets and broad action on environmental sustainability.
Oxfam have gone on the record to say that "He is breaking the mould in validating the concept of patent pools"
With regard to health care in developing countries and access to medicines, this CEO has clearly set a game changing standard against which GSK and the rest of the industry will be judged.
The winner of the individual leader of the year award is Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline.
(A non entry award decided by the Ethical Corporation editors and awards judging panel)
This former CEO and now Chairman is a living legend in the sustainability world. Long an inspiration for CEOs, managers and activists all over the planet, he is known in environmental circles for his advanced and progressive stance on industrial ecology and sustainability.1 Since 1995, he has reduced his company's waste by a third, and plans to make the company sustainable by 2020.
In his business he has increased sales and doubled profits while turning the traditional "take / make / waste" industrial system on its head. He says the company is more than 60% towards this goal. he is founder and chairman of the world's largest manufacturer of modular carpet for commercial and residential applications and a leading producer of commercial broadloom and commercial fabrics. For instance, under his leadership, his company seeks to reduce and then eliminate petroleum from its manufacturing processes. He calls himself a "recovering plunderer", and defines sustainability as "taking nothing from the earth that is not rapidly and naturally renewable, and doing no harm to the biosphere."
The Ethical Corporation award for lifetime achievement in sustainability is Ray Anderson, Chairman of InterfaceFLOR.