5th Corporate Responsibility Index Results
Thursday, 22nd May 2008 at 1:31 pm
Gas and Electricity supplier Energy Australia has topped this year’s Corporate Responsibility Index under a new rigorous assessment process.
Energy Australia scored 95.51 under the new system, followed by law firm Minter Ellison at 93.09 and third was the Foster’s Group at 90.32.
A total 40 companies participated in the 5th Index (including 16 new companies).
Flexible entry options introduced last year include a private benchmark which has proved popular for new companies, with 10 taking up the option this year.
Dr Simon Longstaff, Executive Director of St James Ethics Centre (which is the trustee of the index) says this year’s Index is evidence of a corporate sector that is beginning to lose its fear of candid and transparent reporting.
Dr Longstaff says this suggests a deeper commitment to learning than has been evident in the past.
Creators of the Index Business in the Community UK introduced a number of changes to the 2007 Index ensuring that participating companies aspire to best practice.
Dr Longstaff says the latest iteration of the CRI is far more demanding than it has been in earlier years and all participants should be applauded for their voluntary participation in this rigorous, examination of their corporate responsibility practices and their commitment to improve.
The more difficult index explains why thirty four companies participating in the full 2007 Index achieved an average overall score of 78.3%. To date, 63 companies have used the Index in Australia and New Zealand.
Under new questioning companies were asked how they managed areas around supply chains, operating in countries with weak governance and issues such as political donations.
The St James Ethics Centre says the different level of monitoring makes it difficult to compare the results with last year.
The Age newspaper which publishes the annual Corporate Responsibility Index reports that Westpac, which had topped the Index for four years o\in a row is now working with the St James Ethics Centre to set up programs to help companies develop better corporate responsibility systems.
Those companies who have been early adopters in corporate responsibility with consistently high scores on the CRI have been invited to join the newly established CRI Leaders Network to collaborate with St James Ethics Centre in driving the uptake of responsible business practice across Australia.
The 2007 Index saw a broadening of sector engagement – Financials (7), Energy & Utilities (6), Materials (6), Consumer Goods & Services (5), Support Services & Telecommunications (5), Food & Beverage (4), Accountants & Consultants (3), Healthcare (1), Real Estate (1), Media & Entertainment (1), Software & Computer Services (1).
As well, the Federal Treasury has commissioned St James Ethics Centre to undertake a three year project to expand responsible business practice nationally.
The purpose of the funding is to:
– To expand the number of Australian companies that are actively engaged in identifying and adopting more responsible business practices including SMEs.
– To consider options to improve, and where necessary refine, the tools that are available to promote responsible business practices across all levels of corporate management.
Rosemary Sainty, Head of the Project says this represents an exciting opportunity for St James Ethics Centre, a fully independent Not for Profit organisation which is uniquely placed within Australia to deliver the goals of the project due to strong international links with key players in corporate responsibility and sustainability, including its trusteeship of the Corporate Responsibility Index (CRI) – an initiative of Business in the Community (UK) and its longstanding partnership with the National Business Leaders Forum.
She says a range of excellent initiatives is already underway in Australia and an important dimension of the project will be to work with key stakeholders and innovators to facilitate national networks and laboratories of best practice.
For the full Corporate Responsibility Index please download the PDF below.