Insights into the winners of our ‘Sustainability Report of the Year’, ‘Integrated Report of the Year’, ‘Communications Campaign’, ‘Community Investment of the Year’ and ‘Partnership of the Year’ awards

On Tuesday 9th October, 200 leading figures in global responsible business gathered at Ethical Corporation’s ninth Annual Responsible Business Awards ceremony. As part of our post-awards knowledge exchange, I am sharing some insights into our winners and the impacts that they’re making.

Sustainability Report of the Year: Novartis International AG – Novartis CR Report

NOVARTIS UNDERWENT a thorough materiality assessment (involving +1400 internal and +200 external stakeholders), gap analysis regarding its transition from GRI4 to the new GRI standard, plus further stakeholder feedback to further optimise its report.

The report is focused on the four most material sustainability issues, with additional information provided on the website. The report’s publication coincides with the release of Novartis’s annual report in January. It is the earliest available sustainability report produced by a Swiss company.

Some improvements include:

• Sections capturing not only what worked well but also where the company experienced challenges (providing a balanced view of programmes)
• A comprehensive index and colourful icons linking indicators (GRI, UNGC, UNSDG) to the
respective sections and to other sources including the annual report and website
• An infographic showing the value chain for each topic covered

Judges' feedback: “Novartis has developed a comprehensive report that is transparent about the company’s key challenges and objectives while introducing new approaches on quantifying value creation. Clear and varied communications, and judges noted the interactive feedback engagement on major topics to this sustainability report. Certainly, an interesting model for many to follow.”

For more information – visit

Integrated Report of the Year: ABN AMRO – 2017 Integrated Annual Review

'ABN AMRO has produced an excellent report that demonstrates a clear focus on integration.'

ABN AMRO's integrated annual report for 2017 is based on its Core & More approach. The financial and non-financial information together create a corporate story of 80 pages (Core): The Integrated Annual Review (by way of comparison, ABN AMRO's comprehensive 2016 annual report totalled around 400 pages). The 2017 Annual Review focuses on four stakeholder groups: clients, staff, investors and society (page 28).

The More reports add further detail specific to the various categories of readers: the Sustainability Disclosures on ABN AMRO’S website, or the Human Rights Update, which follows up on its 2016 Human Rights Report (in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework).

What makes the Annual Review unique is that the auditor, EY, expressed limited assurance based on the IIRC framework – meaning it could be the first ever instance of such assurance, legitimately making it an integrated report.

The focus of the corporate story is on how the company creates value for its stakeholders in the long term. The document shows that financial information and non-financial information both play a part in the decision-making process.

ABN AMRO used specifically selected channels to give the publication of its first integrated annual report an added boost, and ABN AMRO became the first company to publish its annual report on Instagram. It used social media to highlight five elements from the report, refreshingly narrated by some of the bank staff who are responsible for each issue.

Judges' feedback: “ABN AMRO has produced an excellent report that demonstrates a clear focus on integration, with clear metrics, and a clear purpose of the company’s work towards a sustainable economy. Judges would like to highlight IIRC framework adoption with external verification. Judges have seen ABN AMRO apply for this category over the last years and definitely serves as one of the leaders in this field.”

Fore more information – visit

Communications Campaign of the Year: EDF Energy – Pretty Curious

'This EDF campaign combined the topic with blockbuster cinema to gain real awareness for STEM.'

IT IS well known that diversity fosters innovation by broadening perspectives and ideas. Yet, in 2017, 77% of people working in CORE science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) roles in the UK were men (WISE, 2017).

As an energy company, EDF Energy is reliant on a strong talent pool of scientists, engineers and technicians. The company identified that its supply of talented people for the future will be diminished if it doesn’t encourage more girls into STEM subjects.

Through research, EDF Energy identified the following barriers to STEM for girls:

• There is a serious lack of role models in STEM that girls can look up to
• STEM is perceived as a very difficult area of study

To address these barriers, Pretty Curious was created:

a) Awareness – Drive awareness of the issue amongst parents and teenagers alike through a bold and impactful film shown in cinemas and online. At date of entry, cinema ads had featured in movies with over 40m admissions.

b) Inspire – Highlight the breadth of opportunities and some of the more unexpected careers available by using inspirational and successful female role models working in STEM in EDF’s digital content. At date of entry, digital content had achieved over 200m impressions.

c) Engage – EDF Energy provided hands-on, innovative experiences, through its workshop 'Studio' events, allowing girls to experience STEM in a new light. Since launching in 2015, at date of entry, 2,352 girls had taken part in Pretty Curious Studio events.

Judges' feedback: “STEM for girls is not a new topic. What is new about this campaign is how EDF combined the topic with blockbuster cinema to gain real traction and awareness for STEM. Clear ambition, clear metrics, and clear impact. A brilliant campaign!”

For more information – visit

Community Investment of the Year: AstraZeneca – Young Health Programme

'AstraZeneca's work on a critical global issue such as NCDs is remarkable.'

NON-COMMUNICABLE diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, heart and respiratory diseases and cancers are often associated with unhealthy 'lifestyle' choices such as smoking, alcohol misuse, lack of exercise and poor diet. These habits are frequently acquired when young, and once taken up can be very difficult to change.

Since 2015 AstraZeneca has worked globally to give young people a chance of longer, healthier and happier lives through the second phase of the Young Health Programme (YHP).

This has three pillars:

• On-the-ground behaviour-change programmes, with associated learning materials, tailored to the specific needs of young people
• Research and evidence generation in NCD risk behaviours and the underlying psycho-social issues to inform policy and decision-making
• Advocacy at local, national and global levels to equip and promote the voice of youth in communicating practical, effective, evidence-based solutions that can be adopted at scale

AstraZeneca’s approach is “open source” providing evidence and materials for other actors to develop their own initiatives from our research and learning.

This has resulted in YHP peer-education methodology being incorporated into the Indian government's national adolescent health programme; youth being added as a key stakeholder group to health authority outreach in Brazil; and a coalition of youth-serving organisations in Kenya successfully advocating for the inclusion of NCD prevention for youth in health budgets.

In 2017 AstraZeneca carried out a Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis which suggested that for every $1 invested in each of four of the national programmes $6-8 was returned in social value.

Judges' feedback: “AstraZeneca tips a very strong field across all three aspects of innovation, impact and scalability. On impact alone, its work on a critical global issue such as NCDs is remarkable. It has made credible inroads at multiple levels: direct behaviour change, research and advocacy. The investment to output ratio is especially impressive clearly linking back to the business. A real model to study.”

For more information – visit

Partnership of the Year: Tesco & FareShare – Community Food Connection

'Tesco has put a large amount of resources and commitment to this partnership with FareShare.'

TESCO COMMITTED itself to eliminating food waste from its business. In June 2015 its CEO Dave Lewis announced a new partnership with food redistribution charity FareShare to donate food from Tesco stores to local community groups to help achieve that aim.

At the time Dave Lewis described the scheme, part of Tesco's global commitment to reduce food waste, as “potentially the biggest single step we've taken to cut food waste” and said it “marks the start of eliminating the need to throw away edible food in our stores”.

Today, the scheme operates across all of Tesco's 2,646 UK stores, providing around 350,000 meals worth of food each week to charities and community groups across the UK. To date some 7,000 groups have benefitted from free surplus food, with more than 22 million meals being diverted from food waste to feed people in need.

An innovative IT platform developed by FoodCloud, which underpins the scheme, notifies local groups that are participating in the scheme regarding what food is available on their collection day. The local groups can then choose what food they wish to collect.

The partners were keen to develop a scheme that could be adopted by other retailers, and it is now being taken up by others in grocery to operate similar schemes in their own operations under the FareShare Go banner.

Judges' feedback: “Tesco has put a large amount of resources and commitment to this partnership with FareShare, including the personal commitment of its CEO Dave Lewis, who leads the global Champions 12.3 initiative to tackle food waste globally. It is the only supermarket to report transparently on its food waste. The fact that the technology is open share helps scalability.”

For more information – visit

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Novaris  ABN AMRO  EDF Energy  AstroZeneca  tesco  corporate responsibility reporting 

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