Our goal for the coming weeks is to provide an idea of how this can be accomplished and to show what we believe the practice of sustainability reporting should aspire to.
If like us you’ve ever read through an average annual report, you probably would’ve reached a conclusion about the report’s overall content and quality: they can be pretty dull and boring.
Unfortunately, when most companies are required to submit an annual report for their shareholders, customers or investors, they produce a document that, frankly, becomes unreadable. While the focus of a report should detail an organisation’s performance to date, the reader can often get lost in a sea of growth figures and Excel charts, missing key narratives and losing interest in the document entirely.
When it comes to annual sustainability reporting, companies are presented with an alternative approach. At OMBRA, we believe sustainability communications have the potential to become breathtaking – to encourage people with details of astonishing sustainability initiatives and harness vivid imagery and captivating communication channels to inspire audiences. When we think about the traditional approach to sustainability reporting, we see an opportunity to develop a more creative and engaging narrative.
As reports predominately address material topics of interest to stakeholders identified during engagements workshops and exercises, companies have the chance to create an open and transparent relationship with their ethics-based consumers of the future. As we see it, the goal shouldn’t be to simply describe how your meeting sustainability compliance requirements and expectations. The goal should be to explain how you plan to go beyond and exceed expectations.
Our hope for the templates we bring to you over the next few weeks is that they demonstrate the possibilities vibrant design and relationship marketing have for sustainability communications.
Our first project focuses on the retail industry and demonstrates how sustainable business practices across operations can be presented to stakeholders.
As an industry, the average retail value chain has notable social and environmental impacts that can occur throughout areas of operations. With challenges ranging from risks of child labour violations across supply chains, to discharges of toxic chemical substances during material manufacture and production, companies need to provide a detailed acknowledgement of their material impacts, as well as transparent communications that detail their alignment with stakeholder expectations.
We’ve developed a report that centres on drawing the reader in, first through imagery, second through its information. Traditionally, fashion campaigns have focused on the aesthetics and appearance of a small cross-section of society. In contemporary today, we are witnessing an industry that celebrates difference and individuality.
This template embraces this transition and presents the reader with an inviting format to study and engage with. By utilising a thematic approach similar to those found in catalogues and fashion magazines, the reader is automatically directed to important information requested by stakeholders.
For many retailers, their response to tackling material waste across the organisation’s supply chain is a priority issue for stakeholders; both internal and external. Waste disposal and product end-life comprises a large proportion of the environmental impacts attributed in this sector.
Demonstrating a commitment to reducing negative effects associated with waste is one of the best methods of improving the environmental performance of a retail company. Drawing attention to key performance indicators (KPIs) across reporting periods, positive or negative, is essential if you are to show your commitment to consistent and transparent reporting.
Presenting progression against sustainability targets, while acknowledging areas for improvement, demonstrates to stakeholder your commitment to disclosure and avoids claims of ‘greenwashing’. With this template, we’ve demonstrated how key statistics and annual performance metrics can be clearly displayed in a way that doesn’t compromise on storytelling or presentation.
We’ve redeveloped a report structure that focuses on transforming communications based on statistical performance to one which actually encourages its readers to interact with it and learn. Our purpose to make sustainability an attractive behaviour has guided us to present a corporate engagement that creates authentic, visceral experiences for audiences; ones that encourage them to learn more about sustainable endeavours.
Our next project focuses on the automotive industry and innovations with carbon emission reductions, fleet electrification and future mobility patterns. Be sure to join us again for another showcase of what sustainable communications can aspire to become.
Take a look at some of our other posts below: