Utilities dominate UK corporate environmental reporting awards

Among the winners and shortlisted companies at this year's UK Environmental Reporting Awards (ERAs), the utility sector was the most heavily represented. United Utilities won the "best overall envrionmental reporter" award.

The ninth annual ERAs were organised by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), with UK Environment Minister Michael Meacher on hand to present the awards.

Meacher used the opportunity to remind UK’s largest companies that environmental reporting, although currently a voluntary practice, may one day be compulsory (see related story) and that those firms that have yet to enter the environmental reporting field should make haste. Alluding to the current review of UK company law by the Department of Trade and Industry, Meacher said he wouldn’t be surprised if the prospect of compulsory environmental reporting is mentioned in the review’s findings. The findings are due next year.

The overall winner of the ACCA awards was United Utilities, whose report will be forwarded for consideration by the judges of the European Environmental Reporting Awards. Singling out United’s “excellent coverage of climate change issues”, the ACCA also praised a “comprehensive sustainable economy section” and an “engaging, clear format”. Like many of the winners in other categories, the judges were impressed that United made use of indicators that other bodies – in this case the Government’s sustainable development indicators and DETR’s carbon dioxide indicator – had published.

Scottish Power and British Airports Authority (BAA) were joint runner ups. Scottish Power won praise, in part, for including an environmental financial statement, while BAA’s site-based reporting was considered useful.

Biffa Waste Services (see related story) was awarded the prize for “best first time reporter”. In judging its performance, the company used international standards for emissions in the absence of UK legislation on the issue.

Bovince Ltd, a printing company based in Walthamstow, East London was given the ERA for “best small-medium enterprise reporter” and the DIY superstore chain, B&Q won the “best supply chain reporting” award.

Several water companies were among those shortlisted for the quality of their environmental reports. The shortlist is:

  • Anglian Water
  • British Airways
  • BP Amoco
  • British Telecom
  • Eastern Group
  • RMC Group
  • Shields Environmental
  • Thames Water
  • Boots
  • The Environment Agency

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