Vodafone scoops top CSR award

Vodafone Group has picked up a 'best corporate social responsibil­ity' (CSR) reporting award for the second consecutive year, but companies' commitment to CSR will be sever­ely tested as the recession hits.

Best Report Vodafone won three top accolades
Best Report Vodafone won three top accolades

The telecoms expert took home the award for Best Rep­ort at the second ann­ual Corporate Responsibility Reporting Awards, organised by Corporate­Register.com.

The company also won awards for Relevance and Mat­eriality, and Credibility through Assurance.

The awards are designed to recognise the importance corporate social responsibility reporting plays in business communication.

Amanda Jordan, chair and founding director of Bell Pottinger’s CSR agency Corporate Citizenship, said: ‘An increasing number of the FTSE 250, private firms and other companies report in some way on these issues.’

The number of reports published overall has leapt from 2,500 in 2007 to more than 3,100 in 2008. However, experts warn that the future of CSR reporting could be under threat in the current economic climate.

CorporateRegister.com managing director Paul Scott said: ‘All the trends indicate continued growth for these reports in 2009, but we haven’t yet seen the new reports since the recession hit. Companies will continue to publish CSR reports, but we’ll see fewer new reports this year.’

A senior financial agency source went further, saying: ‘As the downturn bites, consumers will also become less interested in ethical issues and more aware of price above everything else.’

But Stuart Poore, director of corporate responsibility at Virgin Media, said only those on the periphery of CSR practice would reduce activity.

‘All too often CSR descends into back-slapping and self-congratulation – for firms where CSR is not central to their core business, it will be easy to jettison,’ he said. ‘But for companies that regard CSR as a fundamental part of the business, the idea we wouldn’t seek to get better at CSR or ­report on it is a non-starter.’

Vodafone Group also rem­ains committed to CSR reporting. The company’s head of corporate responsibility, Chris Burgess, said: ‘It is important that we are confident Vodafone addresses the social and environmental challenges we face.

‘The CSR report is a good way of assessing our strategy, dir­ection and performance, and we are committed to continuing this process.’

 

CRRA winners

Best Report
Vodafone Group
Runners up: Coca-Cola Enterprises, Dell

Best First Time Report
Virgin Media
Runners up: Deloitte, SolarWorld

Best Carbon Disclosure
Royal Dutch Shell
Runners up: Bayer,
Repsol

Creativity in Comms
Coca-Cola Enterprises
Runners up: LEGO Group,
J Sainsbury

Relevance and Materiality
Vodafone Group
Runners up: Bayer, BP

Openness and Honesty
Co-operative Group
Runners up: BP, Royal Dutch Shell

Credibility through Assurance
Vodafone Group
Runners up: Royal Dutch Shell, BP

 

3,100 Number of reports published globally during 2008

336 Number of Global FT 500 firms producing CSR reports in 2008

550 Number of ‘first time’ reports produced in 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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