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October 06, 2021 News

SCA, BASF and ICA Gruppen top Annual Report on Annual Reports 2021

Press release

The 25th edition of the independent and international survey of corporate reporting best practice – Annual Report on Annual Reports –has now been published. A greater focus on ESG and online reports are among the changes to this year’s criteria.

Our team has read and evaluated more than 500 annual reports from across the globe. In addition, an external jury has given their input to the rating. The evaluation covers areas from the CEO Statement and the year in brief to strategy, operations, and financials. We have also assessed design, layout and user-friendliness of annual reports as this has a great impact on how the reports are read. As most professional readers of annual reports read the reports on a screen, and not paper, it is important that it is easy to read and use. This is also the reason for including the online report as a criterion. As well as being easier to read, the online report also increases the number of opportunities to reach a wider audience through links and search.

On an overall level, the reports’ strengths lie in clearly presenting their strategy, operations, and sustainability. The areas that don’t perform well are related to user-friendliness and online reports. Only a third of all companies provide any kind of online report (summary or full report), meaning that users will have to rely on PDFs that are not designed to be read on a screen.

Top performers

All companies in the top 20 list were almost equally good, but eventually SCA was chosen again to take top place, followed by German BASF and Swedish ICA Gruppen.

  • SCA’s annual report is well written and designed. It explains the value proposition and story about the company very well and maintains a high level in all areas. By combining text with graphic elements, it is easy to digest. Despite not having an online version of the report, SCA keeps the top position again this year.
  • BASF’s annual report is very comprehensive but still easy to use despite its 324 pages. They also provide a complete online version that makes great use of interactive features; one example being the presentation of the business model.
  • ICA Gruppen has produced an annual report that is particularly strong in strategy and operations. It is well-designed and easy to use on a desktop screen in a landscape format with links to the different sections. ICA Gruppen presents an online summary with the CEO’s comments in video.

As in previous years, there are many Nordic companies amongst the leaders. One non-European company managed to squeeze into the top 20 list - Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The best performing industry was the Real Estate sector.

“We are really happy that our annual report is appreciated. Our ambition has been to in an easily accessible way describe how SCA has created value in and of our growing forest resource for almost a century. We have also put energy into presenting the transformation that SCA is currently implementing to switch from product areas with low growth to those with long-term good conditions.” Says Anders Edholm, SVP Communications, SCA and Josefine Bonnevier, Investor Relations Director, SCA.

Read the full Annual Report on Annual Reports 2021

Helena Wennergren

Helena Wennergren

Senior consultant


+46 70 971 12 10

James Handslip

James Handslip

Agency Director London


+44 (0)20 8609 4908

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