6 tips for a sustainability report that actually gets read

You go to all this effort, so why not extract the most value out of your company’s sustainability report? Take full advantage of this powerful tool to communicate your sustainability performance in a way that grabs attention and creates impact – both to your own teams and to those you want to influence.

Reap the benefits of sharp sustainability communication

Communicating your sustainability performance is essential in today’s business environment. It demonstrates to stakeholders that you’re walking the talk rather than ticking boxes and filling pages in a pdf.

A powerful injection of sustainability strategy into your internal communications helps raise awareness, fosters a culture of innovation and change, and integrates sustainability into decision-making at all levels. Effective communication to external stakeholders can help you build your reputation, gain a competitive edge, and attract investors and talent on the lookout for a future-proofed company.

Blocks of dense information, data and analytics can be daunting for even the most committed customer or co-worker, so use your sustainability report as a vehicle to engage and inspire your audience. You’ve done the work, now it’s time to tell people about it.

Six simple ways to get value from your sustainability report

  1. Think twice before you begin: Ask yourself, what is the purpose of the report for your business? Is compliance pressure clouding your view? You’re collecting all this data, meeting all these reporting rules, creating all this content, so take time to set the outcome you want to achieve and work backwards from there.
  2. Get the internal buy-in you need: The report may fall in the domain of the sustainability manager, but its effective communication takes anchoring. Are you engaging the communications team? Is the upper management on board? Set the narrative that this year, it’s going to be done differently.
  3. Design with intent: With your desired outcome as the north star, design the report for usability. See the whole report as a product with multiple subproducts that are creatively packaged as ready-to-go material – for social media posts, web content, sharing success stories, quotes from leadership and more.
  4. Create a little launch fanfare: Your report is hot off the press, so why not create a captivating press release or statement? And notify its release to the stock exchange if you’re listed. A physical launch event can work wonders in creating some buzz, perhaps with some guests of note, or together with an internal webinar for added engagement.
  5. Extend your report’s life: Establish a strategic internal and external program for communicating the report. In-house, you can start a Slack or Teams channel that prompts feedback, hold a fun quiz or create a mini e-learning course on the content. Recycle your pre-packaged pieces as staggered external communication over the coming year, in web pages, LinkedIn posts, articles, videos or a podcast, and spanning the visionary to the granular and technical.
  6. Make it part of the bigger narrative: Use these sustainability stories to feed into and mesh with the higher narrative being communicated at the brand level – promoting your company as diverse, agile and ethical, and a safe bet for the future. By intertwining your overarching sustainability storyline with your business plan and objectives, your report becomes a dynamo of value creation and impact.

How can Position Green help?

Position Green provides ESG software and advisory expertise to support your company throughout the reporting process – from streamlined data collection and easy export, to experienced guidance on impact-driven reporting. At the same time, we help you make sense of the increasingly complex regulatory landscape, so that your business can embed processes that drive your company’s transformation.

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