This website uses third-party cookies to collect statistical information related to your navigation. If you continue to browse, we consider you accept this use. See more information on our cookies policy here.

Concluding Report of the IPESD


The IPESD (“the panel”) was appointed again in September 2012, with two new members: Annapurna Vancheswaran (from India) and Marina Grossi (from Brazil), replacing Francesca Broadbent (United Kingdom) and Sol Iglesias (Singapore), both of whom had given excellent service to the panel over the previous three years.

The panel conducted an analytical review of Abengoa’s 2011 Corporate Social Responsibility Report in line with the following objectives:

  • To provide an external and independent viewpoint on Abengoa’s CSR reporting from the perspective of each panel member’s individual expertise.
  • To provide Abengoa with feedback and challenge on its performance regarding CSR issues as reflected in the CSR report, mainly via the submission of questions to the management of Abengoa.
  • To advise on improvements in the clarity, consistency and structure of the Abengoa CSR report through an internal letter of recommendations to management.
  • To evaluate Abengoa’s process of determining which issues are most significant for inclusion in the CSR report.
  • To provide Abengoa with insight on the latest CSR developments and practices around the world.
  • To advise Abengoa on how to achieve the maximum value from the process of reporting and from the panel’s review.

Specifically, this involved the panel in conducting the following steps:

  • A reading of the 2011 Report.
  • The formulation of ten questions for response by management, following the same process and scope as in the previous year.
  • A review of the company’s responses to these questions.

As in 2011, the panel had the opportunity to visit Abengoa’s head office to discuss the company’s sustainability strategy and its CSR reporting. The panel’s visit to Seville (Spain) was well organized with open and interactive sessions involving key company contributors to the report. This was of particular value in explaining some of the data and figures included in the report.

Our concluding comments are therefore augmented both by explanations and written documentation received during our visit to Seville. The panel does not review the accuracy of the data included in the report; assurance of this data is provided by the company’s external auditors.

General observations on the 2011 report

The panel continues to rate highly Abengoa’s commitment to sustainability and to transparent reporting. The report contains a large volume of valuable information, amply demonstrating this commitment to transparency as well as compliance with leading corporate sustainability and reporting standards.

The company again demonstrated to us that it is open to discussions both on the substance of CSR and also on ways of improving the reporting. The panel therefore repeats its view that further progress can be made by reducing general descriptions of external standards and regulations, assuming that readers will either know these or can refer to them outside of the report. Rather than explaining how internal processes are designed, more focus could usefully be placed on the actual performance of the company’s systems and procedures, including reports of outcomes against quantified targets, what challenges the company is facing, and using examples and case studies to illustrate these.

Several of the panel’s previous suggestions have been reflected in the 2011 report. This relates both to an expanded section on the GHG inventory and in the People section. This in turn provides the panel with the opportunity to enquire with further questions on the new information provided. We have also repeated some questions where previous years’ questions were not fully taken up by the company.

We believe that progress was made in 2011 to reduce the length of the report, but it is still a long read and tries to contain comprehensive information on the company’s sustainability efforts. It is therefore not easy to identify the most material issues that Abengoa wishes to communicate. We continue to encourage efforts to focus on a reduced number of key issues in the report and leave the more comprehensive descriptions to an interactive website designed around the needs of the different stakeholders. We believe that this will serve to enhance the quality of the report as an instrument of good and effective communications.

In determining these key issues there is room for more active selection of and outreach to external stakeholders and using their input alongside the company’s own sustainability priorities to respond in the report to these more company-specific sustainability issues. An explanation of how external stakeholders are selected for interview would be helpful. Current procedures concentrate too much on a review of general external information which can only provide non-company-specific insights.

Specific comments on Abengoa’s responses to the panel’s questions

Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The panel recognizes the greater effort in the report to provide information and trends on GHG emissions. As different measures are used at company and at group level to measure emission reductions, this information remains difficult for the reader to assess.

Human rights: The Ruggie Principles on Business and Human Rights are still fairly new and we therefore encourage the company to consider the broader definition of challenges faced by companies implementing these principles for the first time.


Signed by the president of the panel, February, 2013

Jermyn Brooks

Customer Satisfaction – Overall Assessment