Best annual report – listed organisation
Annual report 2018
The cover of Biffa’s annual report is stark. Against a white background, the words Please consider the environment before reading this annual report. We have stand out, surrounded as they are with a strong red border. The theme continues on inside the front cover, starting Every day we clear 15,500 tonnes of rubbish from the UK’s doorsteps. That’s not something to be sniffed at.
The full 80-word message, spread across eight paragraphs, immediately conveys Biffa’s role and the infrastructure, resources and expertise required every day to meet the challenges presented by the waste and recycling industry. And on the back page, the message concluded: This report will one day return as your newspaper, delivery packaging, a Christmas card, your child’s first drawing…
It was a deliberate strategy by Biffa, who felt that its story had been well established in its previous annual report, but that this one – its second following its listing on London Stock Exchange’s main market – needed to communicate its investment case clearly, as well as integrate its approach to sustainability.
It was also important that Biffa demonstrated its involvement in the broader conversation currently taking place around waste and recycling, particularly as environmental and regulatory bodies were among its key audiences.
The bold, red and white block lettering continues throughout the report. For example, in At a glance it is used to highlight key numbers. Detailed infographics and icons demonstrate complex logistical processes in a simple and engaging way, including one highlighting circularity within the waste management chain. The circular economy theme is brought to life by an accompanying case study, which reveals how Biffa recovered 98 per cent of a council’s 1,350 tonnes of street sweepings, in the form of sand, gravel and glass which were then resold.
Each section is clearly laid out, and organised via subtitles into easily digestible chunks. Even presentations by the leadership are split up to make them easier to read.
The judges admired how the report took the environmental responsibilities of its production so seriously. ‘We loved the clarity of copywriting and the humour – it was brave and effective. The imagery could have been more creative and it wasn’t as visually strong as some other entries, but it successfully differentiated itself through its objective,’ they said. ‘It’s about sustainability at the heart of the business.’