AR on AR 2022

AR on AR 2022Summary  |  Ratings  |  Top picks  | Best practices 

Top picks

As usual, an external panel consisting of professionals with long experience in creating and reviewing annual reports have given their input to the ratings. The final list is however decided by Comprend, with the comments from the panel taken into consideration.

Here are the panel members and their favourite reports:

Kellie's favourites

As co-leader of Dix & Eaton’s investor relations practice, Kellie Friery provides strategic counsel to public company management teams to elevate the effectiveness of their investor relations programs and enhance the value for shareholders and other stakeholders. Drawing on more than 15 years of accounting, investor relations and financial communications experience, Kellie works with newly public companies to establish the investor relations function and helps elevate existing programs through the tailored implementation of industry best practices. She has also served as an onsite resource to clients preparing for initial public offerings, launching strategies that support business initiatives and raise brand awareness, and managing integrated communications for mergers, acquisitions and other transactions. This firsthand experience as an extension of communications teams provides a unique perspective that is reflected in her counsel to clients.

Kellie began her career as an auditor with Ernst & Young, LLP. She graduated cum laude from the University of Notre Dame with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accountancy and earned her designation as a CPA (inactive). Kellie is a member of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) and the NIRI Senior Roundtable.

Kellie Friery

SSAB

  • Excellent report. So easy to follow and great read!
  • Great intro the company. Really like the high level 2021 highlights that help set the stage for the detail to come in the report.
  • Really appreciate how the company speaks to global megatrends and industry trends – how these trends are impacting the business and how SSAB is responding.
  • Really like value creation visual and supporting bullets; helps the reader better understand how and where the company is having an impact
  • Excellent use of a simple visual used to describe the company’s overall business strategy. Love how a slightly different take on this visual is used to share the sustainability strategy as it helps to emphasize the integration of the two strategies. Also really like how the visual continues to guide you through the elements of each strategy in the supporting pages.
  • Structure of business unit sections makes these sections easy to digest. Love the use of case studies here to support the story.
  • Overall – Really like the format (e.g. mix of running text, callout boxes, case studies and infographics) throughout the report. Helps tell a great story and makes it an easier read.

SCA

  • Always appreciate how SCA leans into being an innately sustainable business and how this comes through in the overall look and feel of the report. Really like the simple design with a mix of illustration, people and product photos.
  • Nice graphic that provides a simple representation of how SCA fits into the overall value chain.
  • Appreciate the summary of 2030 sustainability goals up front and how they relate to strategic priorities and what they are doing to achieve the goals. Also like that the company highlights the 2021 goals and where they landed. However, wish there was more perspective in the summary on when the goals were set and the progress made to date instead of holding those details until later in the report.
  • Really like how the company addresses operational trends in the strategy section and shares how the company is responding.
  • Love that the profitable growth goal is shown supporting the sustainability goals – “Long-term profitable growth is a prerequisite for sustainable development. Group target 2030: Leading total shareholder return.” Appreciate the direct statement and emphasis of such an important message!

Novozymes

  • Appreciate the “did you know” story highlights in the introduction. These vignettes help support the stories being told in the segment overviews/highlights by providing interesting trend information.
  • Appreciate the simplicity of the table of contents. Like preview of chairman and ceo message and strategy section on TOC page.
  • Like how the strategy “unlocking growth” integrates operational targets with sustainability targets; reinforces these initiatives need to be integrated to be successful.
  • Really like that the Novozymes provides milestones for each goal/target and an update the company’s progress
  • Opportunity to elevate the design of PDF.
  • Effective online summary. Easy to navigate and liked the ability to simply click for more detail when needed.

UPM

  • Like the design. Clean, sophisticated and on brand.
  • Great mix of content – long form copy mixed with bullet, sidebars, case studies, graphic elements, photos, etc. Designed to make this an easier read (less dense) than most.
  • Effective use of a graphic to explain the company’s strategy. Really like how there is a page on each element of the strategy following the graphic/introduction that includes supporting detail on the impact of each area and specific targets. Also like how this format is repeated later in the report for the company’s sustainability approach.
  • Love the goals summary page which includes progress made during the year.
  • Really like the use of case studies throughout.

United Utilities

  • Like the “snapshot of the report”. The integrated reports can be so long – A nice high level preview like this is welcomed and appreciated.
  • Effective use of icons helps the reader tie content to strategic themes and key stakeholders throughout
  • Like the summaries of operational and financial highlights and incorporation of targets with a “KPI status key” ; however there is a lot of content. Thinking some slight tweaks to the content and design could make a big difference here.
  • Really good detail on business model
  • Liked the use of people photography throughout
  • Effective and engaging online report – easy to navigate, like the use of some movement and bold photography, appreciate links to related pages and ability to download select sections; Appreciate use of QR code in the PDF version that links the reader to the online format

Susan's favourites

Susan Blesener is an angel investor and start-up founder, as well as the CEO of The Art of Value, a consultancy that helps companies define, manage and report on what matters most. As an investor, she works closely with budding entrepreneurs to develop innovative, investible business models and strategies. At The Art of Value, her clients include companies in Africa, Asia, and Europe that are publicly disclosing their journey to successfully create profits through the process of creating value for all stakeholders, particularly customers and employees.

Based in Belgium, Susan holds advanced degrees in economics, business administration and strategy. Prior to launching The Art of Value, Susan managed disclosure and accountability practices at the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s private-sector investment arm, and Novo Nordisk, the world’s largest producer of insulin.

Susan Blesener

Novozymes

This is an extraordinary report, particularly because it is one of the most integrated reports, so well-written, and so concise. While some things aren’t in it they do a great job of linking to additional content online. Extra points for ESG as they are already using double materiality.

Ahold Dalhaize

has the best table of contents—with value drivers and related icons on the table of contents. It’s very well organized and easy to find everything—including the well-done sustainability statements with the financial statements in the performance section. It’s very complete and easy to read. While there is lots of forward looking info, strategic targets could be sharper. They have great sustainability statements and well-integrated disclosure with a strong governance section. 

Randstad

Wonderful connectivity, so everything that is disclosed has good context. Great purpose and values. One of the best people sections, great use of material issues. Good info graphics. 

One of the best risk sections—fantastic risk appetite reporting. Risks and strategy are so thoroughly linked, gives great confidence strategy implementation is being thoughtfully managed. Report of supervisory board (Governance) written in a conversational, highly readable style. GRI index is where it belongs—in an appendix with glossary.

Anglo American

This is a really strong report. I really love the ‘how we make decisions section.’ While the strategy is too high level, I like how they present it with business model in what is essentially the intro.

Their website is a delight to navigate. The table of contents is much clearer than their peers. They do a much better job of presenting their reporting suite and linking various reports. 

Shell

Best business model. One of the best CEO letters. I always read their leadership letters first when reviewing reports because they are ALWAYS great and give me a way to benchmark others. Here, they did the best job of addressing the war in Ukraine, which is a nightmare that is also adding to their profits.

HSBC

Intro content—highlights/leadership letters—is fantastic. Good at-a-glance and review of financial and non-financial performance. This is one of the most enjoyable reports I had the pleasure of reading this year. The fabulous Chair letter gives a great job giving the global economic context while tying to business context—setting the tone for whole report. Concise but clear. A lot of remarkable detail but easy to navigate. ESG extremely well embedded, outstanding one page commentaries following income and balance sheets.

Mike Guillaume

Mike's favourites

Mike Guillaume is the co-founder and managing director of e-com, a European-rooted, U.S.-incorporated and London-based firm that specializes in report assessment and benchmarking. He has consulted in more than 500 missions for 200-plus (mainly top listed) companies.

Recognised as a leading international expert in corporate and financial reporting, Mike was the co-founder of ReportWatch and the previous editor of the Annual Report on Annual Reports, before it was acquired by Comprend. Prior to that, as an executive director of The Enterprise Group, his track record includes an extensive entrepreneurial and global management consulting experience in Europe, North America and Southeast Asia (including stints in the banking and energy sectors). An economist, financial analyst, and investor relations specialist, Mike is also the author of numerous articles and more recently of the book “The Seven Deadly Sins of Capitalism” (two editions).

Ahold Delhaize (Netherlands)

Share graphs most accessible. Eye-catching and to-the-point online year highlights allow a good snapshot of FY facts and figures. Not evasive about Covid-19 impact and response. Q & A with CEO. Elaborate Growth drivers and thorough risk report.

Pandox (Sweden)

Topical and analytical: What will change after the pandemic. Clear link between Results and Contribution to society. Convincing investment case and share information. Best and Worst case scenario for 2050. Board duties, normal annual cycle among other governance matters. A pity that the online report doesn't really deliver up to the rich content.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (Australia)

Progress on governance, strategy, risk, metrics and targets summed up straight away in one page. Climate risk management addressed specifically and substantially, and including assessment of emissions intensity of the lending portfolio. Outstanding governance reporting. Extensive glossary.

BMW (Germany)

Though neither a BMW driver nor a brand aficionado, I have to admit this makes up a very impressive online reporting exercise. It has a drive which isn't purely cosmetic, and deals with major strategic and operational issues of today and for tomorrow. The entire content is easy to reach and read. Well-controlled use of tables and charts too. Thorough Risk and Opportunity Management section.

Yara (Norway)

Matter-of-fact online introduction, just lacking a bit in substance. Connecting material topics to performance measurement. How we work to ensure equality… in practice. Reconciliation of alternative performance measures. Financial reporting not fully up to non-financial issues.

Are you looking to improve your annual report next year? We can help you. Check out our ReportWatch reports.

Helena Wennergren

Helena Wennergren

Head of Research

helena.wennergren@comprend.com

+46 70 971 12 10

James Handslip

James Handslip

Managing Director (UK)

james.handslip@comprend.com

+44 (0)20 8609 4908

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