By Aaron Kiel, World Tea News
The first annual Hallbars Sustainability Reports Awards were announced on Oct. 21, 2020, at the Alfred Nobel House Björkborn in Karlskoga, Sweden. Hallbars is an international research institute, focusing on annual sustainability reports, and Hallbars means “sustainable” in Swedish. The tea industry is just one of numerous industries that Hallbars judges and recognizes for the awards program.
In the tea category (category B08 on Hallbars’ website), the top three “Best in the World” Hallbars Awards were presented to:
1. Finlays (United Kingdom) for “Celebrating 10 years of Sustainability Reporting at Finlay’s, Sustainability Report 2018,” 58 pages (KPMG)
2. Kelani Valley Plantations (Sri Lanka) for “Growth Beyond Measure, Annual Report 2017-2018,” 288 pages (Ernst & Young)
3. Ethical Tea Partnership (Malawi) for “Revitalization Program Towards Living Wages, Malawi Tea 2020,” 40 pages
Encouraging More Readers of Sustainability Reports
For its awards program, Hallbars focuses on the sustainability reports themselves, as books, not the specific initiatives. They do not rate or certify the activities of the authors and publishers of the reports; instead, they select and honor the best-of-the-best as a way to encourage more readers to view the individual reports.
According to Hallbars, more and more corporations and institutions are publishing sustainability reports, a rapidly increasing trend over the past five years. However, the firm says that readers of these reports have not increased as fast.
A Key Communication Tool for Tea Companies
Pelle Agorelius, CEO and one of the initiators of The Hallbars Awards, said, “The Hallbars Sustainability Reports Awards are important because they focus on the reports, which are the key communication tools of tea companies with their stakeholders about sustainability. These reports are increasingly essential to understand the corporations and the future. They are becoming the roadmap for future generations.”
Agorelius added, “The tea industry is an industry where long-term planning is very important. It is rooted in a long history and its future needs careful planning. The sustainability reports are a key ingredient of this future.”
Agorelius concluded that the tea industry is already paying much attention to sustainability reports, and that it can continue to improve its sustainability reports by monitoring the reports in other parallel sectors. “The Hallbars Sustainability Awards show the performance of the tea industry within its sector, and also compares the tea industry reports with other sectors,” he said. “Sustainability reports are still fairly recent, and there is much to learn from other countries or other sectors.”
Hallbars is currently planning a large event for next year, The 2021 Hallbars Awards, will take place on Oct. 21, 2021, in the Blue Room of Stockholm Town Hall, where the Nobel Prize banquet takes place.
To learn more about the award program, visit Hallbars.org.