There was a time when some smoothly-spun words about recycling and supporting a local wildlife charity would gain approving nods from stakeholders. However, the importance of non-financial performance has grown significantly and greenwashing is no longer acceptable. A global movement to improve business ethics and align with the Paris Agreement has led businesses to prioritise long-term planning for the world around them. Sustainability reports and ESG reports (Environmental, Social, Governance) must set out a company’s sustainability vision, share its goals and map its progress. As climate change accelerates, consumers, clients, communities, employees and investors want to see plans not pledges, convictions not cliches, results not rhetoric.
As well as addressing current challenges, they must also show that they are readying themselves for future challenges and identifying emerging opportunities. With corporate behaviour in the spotlight, what was traditionally a postscript has materialised into a new industry – one in which businesses must secure trust and confidence by illustrating their shrinking environmental footprints and long-term viability. The Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) industry includes a number of elements including ESG investing, sustainable finance coalitions, reporting frameworks and training, strategy consulting and change management.
Consequently, businesses need to future-proof their reputations by establishing their green credentials, demonstrating financial stability, workforce and supply chain reliability, prioritising health, safety and wellbeing, and promoting diversity, equity, inclusion and ethics throughout their operations. They are under pressure to make verifiable commitments to net zero carbon emissions, consistent with the Paris Agreement’s Climate Goals and other national and international industry standards and regulations. While actions undoubtedly speak louder than words, there is still a place for transparent reporting through ESG Reports. interprets data into relatable information and moves past statistics towards the value of simple and engaging reporting that convinces, persuades and inspires.
- Implement a timetable for gathering the information and data you need.
- Plan a content strategy so that the report follows a theme throughout.
- Establish credibility at an early stage.
- Determine your tone of voice, writing style and any themes or key messages.
- Establish the content for each page and identify who any expert contributors are.
- Focus on progress and don’t become consumed by perfection.
- Include strong or intriguing headings and sub-headings.
- Keep sentences and paragraphs short.
- Identify key goals or objectives you want to achieve by publishing the report.
- The content should be concise, clear and compelling. Keep the audience reading.
- Wherever possible, use data to support your narrative.
- Use interesting infographics to illustrate your data.
- Proofread your draft and send it to contributors for review.
I have been writing ESG reports and sustainability reviews for over 20 years, helping businesses and brands develop their messaging, illustrate their actions and enabling them to take ownership of their sustainability narrative. If you would like to explore how an experienced ESG Report copywriter can help you communicate your ESG commitments and achievements, please contact me.