Four ways to make your sustainability report a more engaging read

by Stratton Craig

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Sustainability reports – and indeed corporate reports in general – are becoming more and more integrated, interactive and engaging. That’s good news for the reader. And it can be good news for your company too. By following these simple steps, you’ll quickly turn your report from dry to delightful.
Channel the hacks
Just because you’re writing a sustainability ‘report’ doesn’t mean it has to be a dry account of facts and figures. Think about how you can weave that data into a story. How can you inject some human interest into it? This is the kind of thing journalists do all the time. And it’s what we’ve been doing for De Beers. Take a look at how we included the real-life case of employee Catherine in a story about the diamond company’s zero harm initiative.
Before embarking on writing the report, it might be useful to have a read of the environmental sections in some of the national broadsheets to see how the experts transform uninspiring information into a scintillating narrative. Then rinse and repeat.
Less spin = more credibility
Your sustainability report should most definitely be showcasing all your fantastic efforts in improving the places and the lives of the communities you work with. But what it should definitely not be doing is spinning your CSR credentials out of all proportion so that it becomes just another marketing exercise. Transparency is key here, and your reader’s eyes will immediately glaze over if there’s a whiff of hyperbole.
Show, don’t tell
Yes, your company may have implemented an incredibly worthy spread of sustainable processes, but what was their actual impact? Rather than just reeling off a list of activities, think also about what the tangible results were of your actions. Of course, it’s not always possible to gauge the outcome of a project, but it should be one of your priorities to find out – and then shout about it.
Go digital
Online technology offers a fantastic opportunity to connect to audiences in a more engaging and interactive way. Not only can you take advantage of design innovations – for instance to highlight figures more effectively – but think also about the variety of mediums you can use to tell your story. From videos to podcast interviews, there’s so much to turn a dry read into an exciting story. What’s more, this could allow your employees to get more involved in the process. Why not get them to send clips of what their department’s been doing to stay sustainable, for example. And then of course, get social media involved to shout about your great work to the world.

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