You’ve spent yonks sourcing examples, making sense of statistics, writing texts and making sure it gets printed on deadline. And there it is. The ...

Sustainability reporting: How to make the most out of it (and why) 

You’ve spent yonks sourcing examples, making sense of statistics, writing texts and making sure it gets printed on deadline. And there it is. The finished sustainability report, which – to be perfectly blunt – very few people will actually read and with all probability will end up gathering dust on some gloomy shelf in the reception area. 

But the usually sad story of mandatory sustainability reporting doesn’t have to end there.

There are easy ways to make your report more accessible and by doing so, also extending its shelf life past its usual expiration date.

Here are five things for you to consider for your next sustainability report.

1. Content is king (but you already knew that)

It comes as no surprise that the key is content.

With the global shift in sustainability mindset, it is well-known that millennials prioritise working for, and buying products from, companies that represent their values. Keeping this in mind, your sustainability report can act as a part of your overall branding strategy.

2. Key messages = hero stories

Before you start writing the report, ask yourself what story you want to tell and what examples you want to use to highlight it. If the report is already written, don’t fret – simply extract key messages that pop out for you and use them to tell your story.

Once you have identified key messages of how you are making an actual difference and what you have accomplished by doing so – such as ‘My company decreased its carbon footprint by switching to electric cars’ – simply list them. They will form the foundation of your content creation.

Each key message will be unique, and you should treat them accordingly.

3. Grab attention with visuals

Could your key message be presented visually? Explainer videos and animated GIFs are easy-to-digest content which are known to perform well on social media.

Are there many facts or numbers involved? Infographics can be an efficient asset to visually break down a more complex message.

Is there a human-interest story behind your message? Employee interviews are a great way of putting a face on your company. Write a feature article for your company blog or conduct a short video interview for distribution on your social media platforms.

4. Extra, extra, read all about it!

Have you come across something truly newsworthy?

Don’t be afraid to send out a press release to get some media attention.

5. The call to action

For those dying to find out more about your company’s sustainability efforts after having been exposed to your key message content, don’t forget to add a link to the PDF version of the actual report.

Or better yet, if it fits into your budget and calendar, consider creating a landing page for your sustainability report. It will provide a soft middle ground for your followers before they take – or don’t take – that leap of faith to read the full report.

The landing page can be populated with more lenghty (but still easy-on-the-eyes) content such as interesting articles or longer videos.

Remember to add an impossible-to-miss Call to Action on the landing page so people are sure to find the actual report.

Summary

By strategically using accessible content, you can seamlessly bridge the gap between your potential readers and your sustainability report. Odds are, they’ll be begging you to read it.

Oh, and by the way…

As an added bonus, social media algorithms based on people’s interaction (think ‘likes’ and sharing) also mean that good content lives longer – which inevitably means your sustainability report will live longer, too. Winning!