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For the second time in five years, Ford Motor Company has won the award for “Best Sustainability Reporting” from the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (Ceres) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). Ford previously earned the honor in 2004, and shares this year’s award with Timberland clothing company.
“Ford’s commitment to sustainability reporting isn’t surprising,” said Brooke Barton, Ceres manager of Corporate Accountability. “Ford has a long track record as one of the first companies to disclose its sustainability policies, practices and goals, as well as its environmental and social performance metrics.”
The award recognizes excellence in reporting sustainability, environmental and social issues by companies in the United States and Canada. It also gives guidance to other entities that are publishing or intend to publish sustainability reports. An independent, 12-member panel of judges considered nearly 90 reports before unanimously naming the co-winners of this year’s award.
In a summary report, Ceres and ACCA lauded Ford’s 2006/07 Sustainability Report for presenting “a very complete picture of the key sustainability issues faced by both the company and its industry and includes a comprehensive materiality analysis.”
The judges highlighted Ford’s disclosure of quantified data for product emissions, including average tailpipe emissions per vehicle complete with industry benchmarking. The panel also expressed appreciation for the report’s recognition of sustainable mobility as a key strategic issue as the company expands into emerging markets.
The judges also praised Ford’s transparency about key challenges, specifically with regards to climate change and the changing regulatory landscape, as well as the company’s use of both online and print reports.
“Reporting on Ford’s environmental and social performance in a balanced and comprehensive fashion has become a normal part of the way the company conduct its business – not just something to do when there is good news to share,” said Susan Cischke, Ford group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering.
“I appreciate Ford’s approach of showing me the highlights in the print report and encouraging me to dig in to the details online,” said Julie Fox Gorte, senior vice president of Sustainable Investing with Pax World Fund and competition judge since 2000. “I look for companies to report about what went right, what went wrong and where they need to improve. Ford did a superb job in that regard, particularly in addressing climate change.”
Fellow judge David Vidal, director of research and global corporate citizenship for the Center for Corporate Citizenship & Sustainability, The Conference Board, said that Ford’s report stood out in the pack due its candor and transparency.
“The layout and organization of Ford’s report around themes of relevance, and its execution also were outstanding,” Vidal said.
“Our Sustainability Report provides a candid and balanced look at our performance,” Cischke said. “By publishing it, we give ourselves and our stakeholders a tool for evaluating our progress in a number of areas critical to the business today and in the future.”
Cischke added that the Sustainable Reporting award from Ceres and ACCA is important for Ford Motor Company because it represents positive recognition that the company is heading in the right direction.
“The reward comes not just from the reporting itself, but our ability to improve performance and meet the rising expectations of investors, customers, business partners and others,” Cischke said. “Reporting strengthens our capacity to identify and respond to opportunities and risks facing the business, which in turn will enhance our competitive position.”