The overall winners

Tribute to the winner of the overall ranking
Bernhard Schweizer, Partner Sensus Communication Consultants, Zurich

If you are sure you are on the right track, you can confidently continue on the same path. That is not a wise saying by Confucius but the recipe for success of this year’s winner. The winning report among the annual reports for 2016 came as no surprise to the final jury with no sign of any abrupt changes of direction or revolutionary conceptual or design innovations. On the contrary, it reached the top position in a closely fought field with strong performance across the board. This was the case after the business had repeatedly won a place on the design rating podium in previous years. You have probably already guessed the winner! On behalf of the final jury I extend my cordial congratulations to Geberit for producing the best annual report of the year 2016.

Consistently, like few other enterprises, Geberit has focused in this decade on the “Online” aspect of its annual reporting. By doing so, Geberit has gradually raised the bar for other businesses, centimetre by centimetre. The Communications team at Geberit has demonstrated yet again his year how the profusion of information required, and above all the additional data which it chooses to provide, is well proportioned and clearly compiled online to suit readers’ particular interests. The final jury was impressed by this consistent policy, its implementation which does not look in any way outdated and above all by the quality of the text of the contributions. I am personally convinced that people will spend more time today leafing through, browsing and reading Geberit’s online annual report than used to be the case with a printed copy. This is surprising, exemplary and pioneering Corporate Storytelling. And remember, this company is dealing with pipe systems, WCs, urinals and showers! The online report designated as an integrated Annual Report surprises the reader time and time again at each click and invites him to discover the Geberit world – not least in the chapters on sustainability, competences and Insights 16, where a great deal of information is truly well prepared and offered for the benefit of specific stakeholder interests.

The overall “annual report package” has been rounded off by Geberit as was the case in previous years by a number of print products designed for specific target groups: firstly, there is the multilingual 2016 chronicle available in a bound volume in printed form only but not online. This “booklet” has already acquired cult status in recent years among designers and is likely to have become a collector’s object for shareholders. Secondly, Geberit publishes a concise report on 2016, which brings together the essentials of the year under review for skim readers. Then there is the accompanying predictive publication for the current financial year entitled “Facts & Figures 2017”. Anyone who is looking for a traditional annual report or searching for a specific term may easily refer to the complete PDF document required by the stock exchange which can be printed out in whole or in sections.

However exemplary the way in which Geberit serves the wide range of potential target groups with its annual reports package for 2016 may be, discussion in the final jury also showed that the performance still leaves room for improvement from the standpoint of certain particular branches represented in the final jury: for instance, the last quarterly presentation in each case is available online but there is no archive of previous quarters and years. Or else: the fact that a company whose turnover is close on three billion Swiss francs, gives little information on the overall market, no earnings numbers by segments and also no references to value generation in terms of economic value added does not make the financial analyst’s work any easier. And a cross-comparison of the compensation reports likewise fails to show a fully convincing depth of the information on offer.

These few comments may help to point the Geberit’s team way into the future. Geberit has scaled the summit and can now enjoy a panoramic view. Who knows, perhaps the communications team will discover from that perspective a few worthwhile new paths into the future. But for now it is time to extend our sincere congratulations on the tenacity with which you have struck out on the online route in recent years, and congratulations on the best and most convincing overall package in the 2017 annual reports rating!