Investors and the SEC are cracking down on businesses to disclose their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) metrics. While this corporate push is urgent, businesses lack a defined disclosure framework.
This dilemma leaves many industry leaders scratching their heads on how to disseminate their sustainable strategies, but many published Impact Reports already have the right idea...
Here are five examples of Impact Reports by companies who are disclosing impressive projects and numbers related to ESG performance, while leveraging design that will have stakeholders captivated by every page:
Industry: Commercial Real Estate
Report Size: 60 pages
Key Strengths: Abundant Statistics, ESG Topics, Connecting Business to Purpose
Don't worry, your report doesn't have to be 60 pages. But WeWork certainly has a big story to tell, and they do it by the numbers with well-researched statistics presented through captivating graphics. Whether it's their carbon footprint, economic inputs, leadership demographics, or client feedback, WeWork has the number, percentage, or quote. Knowing these numbers in your company is critical for your ESG strategy, and it's even more critical to disclose this information to stakeholders — which WeWork does exceptionally well.
The most captivating aspect of this report (with the illustrations as a close second) is the language used to describe their business. With every statistic, client, and project, WeWork weighs the quality of their global work with how it impacts people and communities at the micro-level. The company's impressive numbers paint a big picture, but connect you to the simple fact that doing good through commercial real estate is their business, and that is the language stakeholders want to see.
Report Size: 17 pages
Key Strengths: Lists ESG Priorities, Captivating Statistics, Optimal Design
While Shopify has an equally impressive understanding of their impact in numbers, they package their work in a more compact design. And it works from the get-go.
Upfront, Shopify lists the top impact priorities they address in their report: Economic Impact, Education for Entrepreneurs, Equitable Entrepreneurship, Computing Education, Climate Change, Diversity and Belonging, and Community Care. Not only does this list of priorities pair well with the company's general business purpose, but it rolls out the carpet as a perfect overview for the information to come.
From their list of priorities, Shopify shares thoughtful statistics and summaries of their annual impact. Many stakeholders will appreciate the design that allows them to find and identify the information they seek quickly.
Industry: Electric Automobiles
Report Size: 57 pages
Key Strengths: Optimal Structure, ESG Topics, In-Depth Research and Statistics
This report by Tesla is an excellent model for highly technical companies, weighing in at an informative 57 pages. With the depth of information this report has to share, the company effectively breaks down their report into digestible sections rooted in unmistakable ESG principles, each with key subtopics included (as indicated in their table of contents):
Each section comes with its own introduction, highlighting the importance of each subtopic and the company's drive to be a part of environmental, social, and governance progress. The report's sleek, simple design helps readers easily navigate their topics, supported by strong visual representations of statistics. Highly technical companies will favor this model and design for the delivery of such important metrics and processes.
Industry: Stainless Steel Products
Report Size: 18 pages
Key Strengths: "Storyteller" Reporting, Project- and Partner-Oriented
Miir is more than just a stainless steel vessel company. For every product sold, they fund programs that support people, water, and our earth worldwide.
While the company's 2020 Impact Report does tell a story in some numbers, they take a unique approach to sharing their success. Miir leverages their brand's gift for storytelling and communications with stunning imagery and written articles about their company vision, project beneficiaries, partner highlights, and their values of social justice.
Miir concludes their report with a powerful statement on their company's growth and role in global and community activism:
"Allyship is a journey; we never expect to arrive... As a brand that advocates for the marginalized and strives to use our platform and voice to lift others, we recognize the commitment and responsibility to always be actively working to become better. Our support and activism for the Black community is ongoing."
5. Virgin Media
Industry: Telecommunications Report Size: 40 pages Key Strengths: Long-Term Thinking, Goal-Based Strategy, Always "What's Next?"
Many companies make their achievements the star of their yearly reports. This is entirely the point, but Virgin Media also uses their 2019 Sustainability Performance Report as a launchpad for future goals. Their consideration for the long-term is evident in their five-year reporting model, the growth of which is positively reflected:
The sheer energy in this report comes from the bright design, but most especially the persistent question: "What's next?" Whose lives will we transform next? How will we better our business? Our products? These are questions every business should be asking, and Virgin Media does an excellent job including their stakeholders in these conversations.
The key to powerful sustainability reporting
The reports you've scrolled through here come from big companies, but it's not the brand names that are relevant. It's their unique ways of capturing their purpose and how they told those stories through these reports. If you know your company's purpose, you have the basic requirement to create captivating and successful reports like the ones you scrolled through in this article (maybe even better).
But before you can begin, you need a story to start with. One that comes from genuine impact, research, and — yes — an ESG strategy to empower your reporting.
At Global Imprint, our experts walk you through your custom ESG plan with the delivery of a stunning Annual Impact Report. Learn more about what our team can do for you.