Is your ESG report going the extra mile?

by Sep 14, 2022

Shelton Stat of the Week

35% of the people who can name a brand they’ve chosen because of a company’s environmental or social record say they’ve read a company’s sustainability report.
Good Company, January 2021

​It’s that time of year again. The months (years?) of planning, research, meetings and analyses have culminated in comprehensive ESG data, forward-looking goals and a strategy to achieve those goals. It’s time to put together your company’s report. But is a single report the best way to represent all that work?

While we can’t wait to dig into every new report published (we are ESG marketing specialists, after all), we realize not every audience shares our excitement to read a 100+-page ESG report line by line. But that report took a great deal of effort and is filled with information that needs to be shared. So, how can you make sure your target audiences are absorbing the right information?

In other words, how can you make your report work for you by ensuring your customers understand your company’s efforts for people and the planet and what it means for them, that executives connect the dots between your ESG actions and positive business impact, that employees feel proud to work for a company that cares, and that your sales team has the tools to tell your story (all while making sure the necessary information is available for ratings and rankings agencies)?

Rather than only seeing the final deliverable, we see ESG reports as the Swiss Army knife of your company’s ESG communications strategy – a piece filled with content that can be pulled out and leveraged in places like social media, sales presentations and investor relations. It should lend itself to pushing out press releases about accomplishments and new programs, instead of simply the news that the report has been published.

Depending on audiences and objectives, your reporting package could include any combination of:

  • A single-page executive summary that provides an at-a-glance overview of your company’s goals, annual progress and forward-looking strategy
  • An 8–16-page highlights report featuring the year’s key accomplishments and surrounding details
  • Website content and 3-5 engaging social media posts that can stand on their own in delivering your company’s message as well as provide links to deeper information for interested parties
  • One or more presentations that can be used to educate internal audiences or by your sales team when giving a company overview to potential customers
  • Infographics that make complicated information digestible
  • FAQ document/messaging playbook that internal partners can use when talking with other employees, customers, investors and the media about your company’s ESG strategy and progress
  • Data tables aligned with the frameworks your company has chosen to report to, such as SASB, GRI, TCFD and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Finally, the reporting landscape is always changing and target audiences are evolving. What met your audiences’ needs last year might not this year, so be ready to pivot and add a new component, or take a different approach to or eliminate one that wasn’t as valuable as you expected.

Stay tuned for future blog posts as we review the reporting landscape and tackle how the reporting landscape will affect your company’s ESG reporting and storytelling efforts in the future.

News of the Week
City of Austin improves resilience and community health through landscape development in parks and green spaces
Lowering the barriers to ESG reporting

Data takes time. One way to get more out of your ESG reports is by saving time on the front end by integrating ESG-focused measurement tools. This Eco-Business article details general systems that will save companies time and money as they work to develop benchmarks and lines of site throughout their supply chains.

Read more…

We have the solutions to give everyone access to cooling, but we need to act now
Beyond ESG reporting disconnects between issuers and institutional investors
IR Magazine

As ESG is becoming more widely known, it needs to be easier to understand. This IR Magazine article provides recommendations for how to structure ESG reporting to better address communication problems and make sure people can find important information.

Read more…

Shoptivism: Why Consumers (& Job Seekers) Opt In & Out of Today’s Brands

Sustainability is now mainstream and it’s affecting purchase behavior.

Every year we ask Americans if they’ve ever intentionally purchased or not purchased a product or service based on the social or environmental record of the manufacturer. We then ask everyone who says “yes” to name the brand. Those who say “yes” and can give an example of a brand unaided? We call them shoptivists.

But who are these “shoptivists?”

Our latest report answers this question with three distinct consumer profiles, including details on their mental models, their shopping patterns, the messages that resonate, and where to find them.

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About the Author

Jen Staudinger

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