Previously profiled by Article 13 for its work in enhancing renewable energy and embedding sustainability this Brazlian oil company was voted number one for GRI Reporting in the Global Reporting Initiative's 2008 popular vote; an impressive result given a field of almost 800 reports.
The award, Best Report All Stakeholder Groups, takes into consideration the views of media, investors, employees, civil society and ‘just me’. In addition Petrobras were also awarded Best Report Civil Society, reflecting the views on non-government and civil society organisations.
Note: As a readers' poll, results are more likely to be determined predominantly by numbers rather than necessarily informed opinion than if an expert panel was involved in the decision-making process.
As a member and advocate of the UNGC, Article 13 is committed to profiling innovative activities of fellow members to encourage peer learning and joined up thinking amongst UNGC participants.
Petrobras has been a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact since 26 November 2003.
Readers were asked to score reports of their choice on a scale of 1 to 5 against five criteria:
- Materiality: the extent to which the report covers the issues most relevant and important to the reporting organisation.
- Stakeholder inclusiveness: how focused the report is on the organisation’s most important stakeholder groups and on addressing their concerns.
- Sustainability context: degree to which the report discusses performance in relation to broader sustainability trends.
- Completeness: whether the report allows readers to assess organisational performance.
- Quality: the comparability, accuracy, timeliness, clarity, reliability, balance and quality of the information provided.
In addition, readers were asked to assign weightings to the criteria to reflect not only perceived performance but the relative importance of each criteria to them as a reader.
With over 62,000 employees around the globe and a 55-year history Petrobras traditionally started as a result of an Act of Parliament incorporating it to undertake oil sector activities in Brazil on behalf of the Union. Now with almost a quarter of a million shareholders Petrobras is the seventh largest oil company in the world. It is also ranks alongside the likes of Shell and BP as a leader in sustainability for the sector, in fact it is currently considered amongst the global leaders by the Sam Group, researchers for the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI).
It has done this by evolving its greenhouse gas intensive business to take increasing account of climate change in five key ways:
- Energy efficiency;
- Using and creating renewable energy;
- Research and development;
- Quantifying and controlling emissions; and
Further detail on these strategies can be found in our case study archive.
In line with this evolution has been Petrobras’ communication of progress via its sustainability reporting. First reporting in 2003 the company has used the 10 Principles of the UN Global Compact to guide its reporting approach from the outset.
In addition, it also transparently communicates the application of a number of other frameworks including DJSI and GRI.
At 160 pages, Petrobras’ 2006 Social and Environment Report is certainly comprehensive. Its content is, in part, informed via stakeholder dialogue. In addition to more traditional avenues for stakeholder dialogue, Petrobras pays a great deal of attention to a localised stakeholder approach in the communities where it has operations through town hall meetings and other forms of two-way communication.
Transparency is further enhanced through an external assurance statement that clearly distinguishes between those items where full auditing has taken place, equivalent to the process undertaken for financial reporting, and those were a review was undertaken to give stakeholders a clear understanding of the level of verification.
It is also stylistically focused on the impact on end users and other stakeholders featuring quotes from employees, recipients of the benefits of community programmes as well as farmers growing biofuel.
The format is further made accessible to a wide variety of readers through the purposeful use of charts and graphs which are also accompanied by useful and contextual discussion.
In addition, the company’s 2005 and 2006 reports were also considered outstanding reports by the UN Global Compact and have been considered a global benchmark for the reporting in a number of international workshops.
Other accolades have also followed including recognition in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI).
© Article 13 - February 2009
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