Brazilians Sweep the GRI Readers’ Choice Awards

GRI Conference, Amsterdam RAI EliciumYes, participants from all continents around the world enjoyed the convivial atmosphere of the host country, and in the end, the Brazilians won the tournament.  No, I'm not talking about the 2010 World Cup. Last night at the RAI Elicium, Brazilian companies swept the GRI Readers' Choice Awards.  The big winner?  Banco de Bo Brasil, which won three awards.


At a lively ceremony that featured a British comedian, a Dutch percussion ensemble, and the vibe an Amsterdam nightclub drowning in techo beats, four Brazilian firms, which also included Banco Bradesco, Vale, and Natura Cosmeticos, won six awards.  But what was impressive about Banco Do Brasil's dominance was the scope of its achievement.


Banco do Brasil won the Engage, Investor, and most importantly, the Best Overall award, demonstrating that the financial services firm is effective at broadcasting its ESG (environment, social, and governance) message to various stakeholders, whether they are its employees, investors, or consumers.  In turn, their work on ESG resonated with readers, whose votes in the end decided the winners.


Those voting results are where the Brazilians can provide a teaching moment for companies around the world. The common complaint about ESG reports is that only investors, academics, and the occasional activist read them. But Banco do Brasil and its compatriot winning companies succeeded in not only engaging their stakeholders, but inspired them to read, critique, and respond to their ESG reports. And by adopting social media to broadcast those messages and encourage employees, investors, consumers to vote their choice, Brazilian ESG report readers have opened a window into what lies ahead in the future of sustainability reporting.


Last night's event has shown Brazil's remarkable influence on the world's economy and concern over sustainability.  Its renewable energy policy of the last 30 years, growing transparency in business and government, and the improved stewardship of its vast resources are paying off.  The chances are high that Brazilians will be dancing in the streets after the World Cup Final this summer in South Africa. They should be dancing in the streets now; their companies have proven that they are exemplars for other multinational firms across the globe.


So what advice can the Brazilians give the rest of us? If you are from Brazil and participated, please share your thoughts.