Five Ways to Improve ESG Reporting in Your Organization
ESG reporting is a communication channel where you can showcase who you are and what is important to you.
When sharing your ESG efforts and outcomes, it’s important to create stories that people want to read – something that inspires them and shows them why they should align with your organization and its efforts. If you are looking to improve your ESG initiatives, you must consider how branding, design, company values, company purpose and an integrated approach bring value to your ESG story. Only then can you be sure that the story you are telling is authentic to you.
Your brand is the perception of your organization, and your ESG reporting is one of the concrete ways you show up as your brand. You are already sharing stories and creating experiences to differentiate yourself from your competitors and ESG data is an extension of that. A way to make the intangible tangible. By crafting your strategy through this lens you will add authenticity to your long-term goals while staying true to who you are as an organization. It also builds trust with all stakeholders when they see you are committed to actions that support who you say you are. ESG is part of your brand – a representation of who you are, what you stand for and how you are positioned.
Using design to improve your ESG disclosures goes beyond layout. The data-driven nature of sustainability metrics can lead to dry, difficult to read and sometimes impossible to understand reports. Design and data visualization can demystify your ESG activities while improving its comprehension. With purposeful design, your ESG information can go from vague goals and gathered data to process efficiency and improved reporting. Simplifying complex systems, processes, activities, etc. through a consolidated visualization such as graphics, photography or video will show instead of tell, keeping your audience engaged and in control of how they consume content most interesting to them.
Values are a critical element of an organization’s foundation. These directional phrases put lofty aspirations into human terms. Noble principles, they are purpose made real and as such should be a cornerstone of ESG strategy. When values are infused into the planning of your ESG goals, it can inspire stakeholders to embrace the impact you wish to make. Companies that exemplify ESG as an integral part of their DNA – from their purpose and values to their overall business and operating strategy – will gain trust instead of cynicism, from the stakeholders that matter most.
When purpose is at the core of an organization, ESG efforts fall in line as a support of that noble intention. Purpose is the overarching corporate imperative used to make and guide all decisions and storytelling. Any ESG action or goal then becomes an extension and demonstration of a commitment to purpose, putting on display how you make purpose real in this world. Ultimately, purpose should be the guiding force for setting ESG strategy and making ESG decisions, helping you realize where you can make the most impact on the world by nature of what you care about most. Purpose becomes a great tool for helping you sort through the things you could do for ESG into the things you must do to contribute to that deeper cause you are operating in support of.
Integrated reports go beyond traditional annual reports to combine environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria with financial results. Developing this kind of report requires internal cohesion, an understanding of the global reporting initiative (GRI) standards, material relevance of ESG issues to your business, and clear objectives about what the report will achieve. By combining your financial reporting with your ESG performance in a consolidated report, you are making a statement to your investors that you view your ESG efforts as integral to your business results. Integrated reporting is a great way to see how all aspects of your business are impacting each other, and showcase that ESG is at the core of your belief systems.
ESG is the new normal and so too is the activism behind many of the goals created by it. It is critical that your sustainability report tells a compelling story, provides ample and accurate information, and paints a picture of the impact you have made and of the vision you hold for the future. By taking into consideration how branding, design, company values, company purpose and an integrated approach impact your ESG strategy and storytelling, you can improve how you share this integral part of your business. By sharing your story, you share the commitment you have to these goals and the actions you are taking to make this world a better place.
Savage Brands believes in unleashing the good inherent within all organizations. Business results are driven by connecting with people at the belief level. That’s why we align everything a company says and does with its Purpose through a proven process that links strategy and execution with “why.” We solve the challenges corporate America faces by building tribal loyalty from the inside out, focusing on people first to deliver authentic brand experiences. Savage builds purposeful brands, communications, leaders and cultures.