Euro environmental reporting award launched

First European award goes to Danish firm Novo Nordisk for linking sustainability, eco-efficiency

Danish biotechnology company Novo Nordisk today won the first European Environmental Reporting Award. Novo Nordisk Chief Executive Officer Mads Øvlisen was presented with a certificate by Domingo Jiménez Beltrán, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, at a ceremony held this morning in Copenhagen.

Novo Nordisk's stand-alone environmental report is "well designed, externally verified [and] provides an open and honest account of environmental shortcomings," said an international judging panel. "In its approach to sustainable development and eco-efficiency issues," the judges said, the report "sets a standard and transmits a message...[that] should be followed by other organisations in their environmental reporting."

The European Environmental Reporting Award was organised jointly by professional accountancy associations from the UK, the Netherlands and Denmark. All three run national environmental reporting award schemes.

Thirteen winners and runners-up in the national schemes were entered into the European event. In addition to the winner, three organisations received commendations.

UK supermarket retailer J. Sainsbury was commended as the "best first-time reporter," and British Airways received a commendation for the "scope and depth of its environmental reporting. Dutch hospital Academisch Ziekenhuls Utrecht was awarded a public sector commendation and "acclaimed...as an example to be followed by other 'not-for-profit' organisations, which have to prepare environmental reports on relatively low budgets."

Voluntary environmental reporting by companies is a relatively new and still relatively rare phenomenon. But it is growing rapidly. According to the UK Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), which runs Europe's longest-established national scheme and co-organised the European event, "approximately one in four large companies now issues a separate environmental performance report."

A world survey of corporate environmental reporting by the UN Environment Programme and environmental consultancy SustainAbility last year estimated that over 400 companies were issuing stand-alone environmental reports.

According to Roger Adams of ACCA, the European environmental reporting award will be repeated next year, and should cover more countries. "National environmental reporting schemes are also running in Sweden, Norway, Germany and Italy," he says. "We will now see if we can persuade other [professional accountancy] organisations to join us.

Speaking for the Federation of European Accountants, John Hegarty welcomed today's award. He said that the federation was encouraging other national associations to participate, and also to set up more national environmental reporting awards.

Follow Up:
Association of Certified Chartered Accountants, tel: +44 171 396 6855; Koninkiljik Nederlands Instituut van Registeraccountants, tel: +31 20 301 0301; Foreningen af Stataustorieserade Revisor, tel: +45 33 76 33 33; Federation of European Accountants, tel: +32 2 231 0555.

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