Redesign Reporting – Part 1: Retail

Welcome to the first instalment of our Redesign Reporting portfolio!

In this series, we’ll be giving you a glimpse into OMBRA’s creative mindset; an insight into how we think businesses can better interact with their stakeholders. Developing complex strategies, methodologies, and targets related to corporate sustainability is one thing, but to simultaneously design an appealing and captivating communication for your stakeholders (which they actually want to read) is a different challenge entirely. 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.

Let’s be honest about sustainability reporting for a minute…

Now, if like us you’ve ever read through the average annual report, you likely would’ve reached a conclusion about the report’s overall content and quality:

It’s boring.

Unfortunately, when most companies are required to submit a periodic report for their shareholders, customers or donors, they produce a document that, ultimately, becomes unreadable. While of course, the focus of a report is based on the organisation’s performance in the period in question, the reader can often get lost in a sea of growth figures and Excel charts and miss narrative focus of the document entirely. When it comes to annual sustainability reporting, however, companies are presented with an alternative to conventional reporting.

At OMBRA, our purpose is to make sustainability BREATHTAKING. To us, that means taking inspiration from the vivid imagery our planet has to offer and harness it within channels that captivate and encourage audiences into adopting sustainable behaviours.

When we think about how companies approach annual sustainability reporting, we see an opportunity to develop a more creative and engaging narrative. As a communication predominately aimed at addressing material topics of interest identified during stakeholder engagement exercises, companies have the chance to create an open and transparent relationship with the ethics-based consumer of the future. As we see it, the goal shouldn’t be to simply describe how your organization is meeting its sustainability compliance requirements and expectations. The goal is to describe how you plan to go beyond and exceed them.

Weaving engaging presentation into an insightful performance

Our first project focuses on the retail industry and their attempts to implement sustainable business practices within their area of operations.

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As a sector, the retail value chain has notable social and environmental impacts that occur within the influence of their business. With challenges ranging from international labour compliance and risks of child labour incidents to chemical substances used in the making of materials and products, ensuring a depth of understanding of material issues, as well as a transparent alignment with stakeholder expectations, is vital for companies operating in this industry.

We’ve developed a report that centres around drawing the reader in, first through its images, then through its information. Traditionally, fashion campaigns have focused on the aesthetics and appearance of a small cross-section of society. Today, in contemporary fashion, we are witnessing an industry that celebrates difference and individuality. This report embraces this transition and presents the reader with an inviting format to engage and inform. By utilising a thematic approach similar to those found in catalogues, the reader is automatically drawn in and directed to important information requested by its stakeholders.

For many retailers, how the organisation tackles with material waste across its supply chain is a priority issue for many stakeholders; both internal and external. Comprising a large proportion of the environmental impacts attributed to businesses in this sector, demonstrating a commitment to reducing the negative effects is one of the best methods of improving the environmental performance of a company. Drawing attention to key performance indicators (KPIs) from across your reporting periods, whether positive or negative, is essential if you are to show your commitment to consistent and transparent reporting. Presenting your progression against targets, while acknowledging areas for improvement, demonstrates to stakeholders your commitment to disclosure and avoids the ever-dreaded claims of ‘greenwashing’. In this example, we’ve demonstrated how key information regarding targets and annual performance can be clearly displayed in a manner that does not compromise on narrative or presentation.

this is OMBRA

We’ve developed a report that focuses around transforming a communication based on statistical performance and improvement into one which actually encourages its readers to take a pause and browse. Our goal to make sustainability an attractive behaviour has allowed us to present a corporate engagement that creates an authentic and highly visceral experience for its stakeholders; one that informs and encourages support in the future.

Our next project focuses on the automotive industry and the increasing trends in carbon emission reduction, fleet electrification, and future mobility patterns. Be sure to join us again for another presentation of what a sustainability future may look like.


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