Clarity, truth, proximity! – The annual report is becoming increasingly important. It holds out an opportunity to win trust and credibility. Have those two values ever been more important and precious than they are today? Conduct even on the part of prestigious businesses which is damaging to their reputation (examples include the diesel affair in the automobile industry or manipulations in the financial sector) have created a “serious problem of trust” for the whole economy. I hope you will answer that your business deserves confidence because it is well managed and shows integrity to all interest groups. That is good. Only: why do so many companies not manage to put this message across in their annual reports? Clarity, truth and proximity to the stakeholders are qualitative elements.

Clarity. – Reporting which implements all aspects of understandable communication in terms of language, graphics and a consistent image is the basis. But this does not make an annual report a winner.

Truth. – Perception and truth may not be the same. There is no doubt that reporting gains in credibility if the desire for transparency is apparent. Take more than just a glance at the financial accounting, turn your annual report into an “open day” and prove that your activities are consistent with your corporate values.

Proximity. – Without proximity there can be no trust. Use your reporting to create a relationship with your stakeholders. Talk about yourself - but never forget to whom you are talking. Your annual report must answer questions - and you must be perfectly familiar with those questions.

The good performers are still in the lead. – Our jury has shown little change in the ranking in recent years. Many of the companies assessed by us show less transparency, give little background information, and are economical with non-financials or information about their remuneration policy.

There are no newcomers to show how things are done this year. Geberit, Clariant and Straumann stand on the podium of the best Swiss annual report publishers. You may well ask why are the same firms winning the laurels yet again? Well, our jury would welcome strong competition of equivalent quality but our analysis reached the same conclusion once again: These three companies achieve far more than just good reporting – they lead the field with exemplary value reporting – clarity, truth, proximity.

Kind regards

Hans Peter Nehmer
Chairman of the Annual Reports Rating Jury
Harbour Club Managing Board Member
Head of Corporate Communications Allianz Switzerland

Hans Peter Nehmer