Relevant sustainability content for investors and business journalists
By Carl Grönwall
The increasing demand for sustainability content has made it harder for communications professionals to provide relevant sustainability content for all stakeholder groups. According to our Web Management Survey earlier this year, communication professionals find it challenging to create relevant sustainability content for investors and business journalists. Here are our tips on what to do based on our recent Webranking research.
The website and sustainability communication play an instrumental role in a company's branding activities. Therefore, a website must have all the relevant sustainability information that important stakeholder groups request.
To help companies provide relevant sustainability content for corporate audiences, we conduct our annual Capital Market Survey. We ask business journalists, analysts and investors what content they expect from listed companies, including sustainability information.
The survey results clearly show that the website is an essential channel for sustainability communication. 44% of the respondents prefer to read about sustainability directly on the corporate website, compared to 21% who prefer to read it in a PDF annual report.
Three sustainability topics are particularly important according to the respondents:
Targets, achievements and data
Over a long-time period, we've witnessed that it has become increasingly important for companies to provide a sustainability strategy on their corporate website. Stakeholders want to understand a company's approach to sustainability, and the sustainability strategy must consider all stakeholders' needs and expectations. It is beneficial to present a sustainability strategy that highlights both environmental and social aspects, we see that respondents highly value this in this year's Capital Market Survey.
The sustainability strategy should also include concrete actions on how the company will reach its sustainability targets, as this shows transparency and that the company takes sustainability seriously.
Sustainability targets, achievements and performance data
Stakeholders appreciate hard facts as opposed to generic sustainability information. When reviewing and updating the sustainability content on your corporate website, it is necessary to prioritise the sustainability content stakeholders most value.
According to respondents - sustainability targets, achievements, and data come close to being as important as financial targets, achievements and data. 90% of the respondents think it is vital for a company to present its environmental sustainability targets, achievements and performance data on the corporate website. Providing social and environmental sustainability targets, achievements, and performance data makes it easier for stakeholders to understand how a company operates in a sustainable way.
A good example of presenting this is Barratt Developments, who provide social and environmental sustainability targets and sustainability data in an interactive sustainability data tool. This makes it easy to compare different sustainability indicators and review the company's sustainability performance.
According to this year's survey, sustainability governance is becoming more and more important. Stakeholders expect companies to provide information on who is working with sustainability, how the sustainability work is controlled, and information on what different actors do to benefit the company's sustainability work.
CaixaBank is a good example, they present a detailed description of what the different governing bodies do to execute the company's sustainability work. This isn't only a sign of transparency, but it also makes it easier for stakeholders to understand how the company's sustainability work is managed.
It's not only who's responsible that's important but also information about which guidelines govern the company and its employees. Corporate audiences such as analysts, investors and business journalists find it especially important for a company to present information regarding its approach to anti-corruption.
Assa Abloy present an anti-corruption compliance policy, stating that they have zero tolerance for corruption and conduct different proactive measures to counteract corruption. By presenting the company's approach to anti-corruption in a policy that guides its activities, stakeholders can reassure themselves that a company acts responsibly.
Improving sustainability content
As mentioned earlier, sustainability content and the website plays a significant role in a company's branding activities and is the most preferred channel. On top of this, 38% of the respondents thought it was vital for companies to improve the sustainability section of their corporate website.
Is it time for your company to review and update the sustainability content on your website? If you don't know where to start or how to improve the content your sustainability content, we are more than happy to help.