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More organisations are adopting annual environmental/sustainability reporting according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants after announcing this year’s winners of the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu sponsored Sustainability Reporting Awards. But environmental reporting standards by local authorities have declined.
New Zealand is by no means at the forefront of this reporting practice but the trend is growing, according to the award organisers. More organisations are showing willingness to tackle the “hard (environmental) issues” and to report on their management of sustainable business processes. The environmental reporting award scheme has been operating since 1995, evolving this year to include ‘sustainability’ reports, together with triple bottom line or sustainable development reports. The focus next year will be on more comprehensive sustainability rather than environmental reporting. Landcare Research, second-time winner of the Non-listed Entities Environmental Reporting category, presented an “outstanding, world-class, well integrated Sustainable Development report”, according to the judges.
The surprise joint winner in this category, and one of the smallest companies to enter so far, was the Auckland-based company Urgent Couriers. The judges called the company “a role model for small or medium-sized businesses”.
Kawerau-based Norske Skog Tasman won the Listed Companies or Subsidiaries category with its report on timber production processes and the environmental effects of these. It benchmarked against comparable mills in North America and Nordic countries. But, said the judges, the company’s winning 2000 Environmental report would probably not meet the criteria for next year’s awards in this rapidly developing management reporting field.
The Warehouse Group’s ‘triple bottom line’ report (addressing social, environmental and economic performance and impacts) was commended as “promising first report”.
The sour note was delivered by the nation’s local authorities whose reporting on the issues was so poor this year that the judges did not present an award. The entries in the ‘State of the Environment Reports by local authorities’ category were “less impressive”. Their standard of reporting appears to have gone backwards as the issues become more important. Their reports did not match the level of previous years’ winners. The judges suggested the Ministry for the Environment step in and provide some guidance.

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