The 3 best ways to operationalize an ESG report

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Proposed by 3BL Media

3BL Media explains how to operationalize ESG reporting to maximize brand visibility. Explore more of our resources in our Private Equity Hub.

ESG has been the topic of conversation for private equity investors and investor relations managers for years. Taking notes from ESG-focused companies like Blackstone and KKR, many other private equity firms are incorporating ESG communications as standard practice.

It can be difficult to understand how to use ESG or sustainability reports beyond their publication. However, these reports contain a wealth of information that can be repurposed into derivative content that can be used to attract, engage and inform stakeholders, sponsors, candidates and employees who share values ​​and constitute a crucial audience for companies.

This guide will help communicators to better leverage the investment that the company has made in its ESG program and the associated reporting, and covers the following points:

  • CSR vs. ESG: what’s the difference?
  • Use sustainability reports to build partnerships with other departments
  • Extract content from an ESG report.

CSR vs. ESG: what’s the difference?

CSR stands for Corporate Social Responsibility and ESG is the abbreviation for Environment, Social and Governance. These two terms represent socially responsible companies. The main difference is that CSR qualitatively describes a company’s responsibility for its social commitments, while ESG aims to measure or quantify social efforts.

The ESG report is a rigorous, data-driven report containing risk assessments from an environmental (such as climate change), social (such as wars and pandemics) and governance (such as the development of accounting rules) perspectives. and compliance).

CSR has attracted its fair share of skepticism over the years, with the main complaint being that CSR is nothing more than a thinly veiled promise for corporate branding purposes. However, in today’s transparent environment, companies cannot afford the fallout of a damaged reputation with a looming recession, inflation and the worst IPO market in two decades. With my apologies to Shakespeare, the truth will come out.

When a brand commits to ESG principles, on the other hand, it develops a strategy to achieve detailed and measurable KPIs, thus holding the company accountable in a sustainable and transparent way.

Beyond action and reporting, communicators must also develop an ESG communication plan. Communicating the details of the ESG report and its associated KPIs will reinforce a company’s long-term commitment to embedding ESG values ​​into the fabric of its operations.

At the heart of the ESG communication strategy should be the concept of data redirection in reports. Here are some ways to maximize visibility by leveraging this data.

Use sustainability reports as a tool for partnering with other departments

Partnering with other internal stakeholders will help communicators find additional angles for the ESG story, create alignment with other teams, and ultimately help the organization derive more value from its ESG program and reports. Keep in mind how other groups can benefit from ESG-related communications.

  • The main objective of human resources is to create interest in the company among potential employees. Additionally, HR professionals can use the report’s LinkedIn or Twitter content as a key message to talk about the company’s mission.
  • A sales team is always looking for ways to strategically reach potential or current customers and stay ahead. Sharing key elements of the ESG report through email newsletters, sales letters, or social tools through a corporate CRM will help the company stand out when bidding or of the supplier selection process.
  • The role of marketing is to maintain engagement levels and build brand awareness with new and fresh content tailored to the target audience. Quality digital assets can be created around data compiled from ESG reports, such as infographics, statistics, etc., and distributed on social platforms.
  • If the company has a philanthropic arm, consider sharing ESG information and data through channels such as emails, blogs, and other online communications with related audiences.

Get creative with different types of content

ESG reports are treasure troves of stories, visuals and data, and offer communicators the ability to create more visibility for the business by repackaging content into different formats for external consumption across multiple channels.

In addition to easing the burden of content creation for marketing and communications teams, amplifying the message by repackaging content helps drive adoption, creating a kind of breadcrumb trail to the brand and core message.

Simply put, more touchpoints mean wider reach. Here are some ideas for isolating and communicating the elements of an ESG report:

  • Acknowledgement: Highlight an employee, charity partner, community member, or customer mentioned in the report via social media or email.
  • Multimedia content such as photos and videos – numerous studies have shown that the best performing content on social media is multimedia rather than text posts.
  • Create a story from sustainability reports and produce short videos that tell the story behind – whether social, governance or environment-related achievements or contributions.
  • Infographics – numbers tell stories and infographics serve as visual aids.
  • Schedule webinars – introduce the key executives behind the report and discuss their findings.
  • Twitter chats – Host a public dialogue on topics such as sustainability, social good, or philanthropy without discussing company products or services.
  • Regular blog posts – Focus on a new section of the sustainability report each month by summarizing it, linking it to the appropriate section, and posting it across multiple channels. This will help maximize visibility and drive traffic to the website consistently.

Broadcast messages to increase visibility to a wider audience

The ESG report and related communications developed by communicators represent opportunities to connect with new audiences. Interest in how companies are addressing pressing environmental and social issues is growing. A partner like 3BL Media helps brands reach new audiences concerned about responsible business and ESG commitments, delivering brand messages to interested journalists, investors, consumers and influencers, in addition to rating and ranking agencies that follow. and measure companies’ ESG activities.

Communicating regularly about the brand’s ESG program and its results will broaden the audience, keep the brand top of mind with stakeholders, and help the organization get the most out of its ESG program and reporting.

Talk to one of our experts to learn how to get more visibility (and ROI) from ESG reporting.

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3BL Media

3BL Media is the world’s leading communications partner for purpose-driven organizations. Through content distribution, multimedia promotion and hands-on learning experiences, we connect organizations to an unparalleled network of sustainability professionals, journalists, bloggers, investors, academics, policy makers and influencers passionate about engagement on topics such as education, environment, community. involvement, supply chain and circular economy, volunteerism and sustainable development goals.

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