The Swedish environmental magazine MiljöRapporten, together with an external jury, ranked the report first among 54 others from companies included on the OMX Stockholm Large Cap list.
In the May issue of MiljöRapporten, Daniel Boman wrote that the report won because it focuses on how sustainability issues can be incorporated as part of a business strategy to win market share and gain a competitive advantage, rather than presenting these issues as problematic. He also noted that Ericsson defined its report’s target group clearly, and accounted for its progress in a variety of ways to increase accessibility.
Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson, said: "Our sustainability and CR strategy about making the link between our core business – our products, services and our people, and ensuring that we make a positive impact on people and society – is what we mean by Technology for Good, and that is in essence the overall theme of our 2011 report."
Transparency regarding business strategies is a recent trend in sustainability reporting. "To be credible, a strategy has to be presented openly," Weidman-Grunewald says. "In a company as big as ours, that can be a challenge, but that’s the way sustainability reporting has evolved, and as society becomes increasingly transparent, we need to be transparent as well."
The reports were evaluated on five criteria: overall impression; accessibility; long-term approach; the business advantage of sustainability; and credibility.
MiljöRapporten and the jury noted that Ericsson took a comprehensive approach to its report, linking its operations to solutions to the global sustainability challenges that are most relevant to the company’s business. For example, the report linked Ericsson’s new solutions for transport systems to the problem of climate change, thus demonstrating that the company’s sustainability efforts have a clear purpose.
On a more general level, more facts and less advertising – and the beginnings of a focus on business advantage – were among the positive trends seen in this year’s reviewed reports.
MiljöRapporten and the jury reviewed the 54 sustainability and CR reports from large-cap companies, and then chose 20 of them on which to focus further. Ericsson’s report was the unanimous winner among the five finalists.