Consider your audience
With sustainability reporting speeding to the top of the corporate agenda, boards and investors are likely to dominate when it comes to audience considerations. These specialist audiences are very clear on the data they’re looking for to tell them how a company is tracking on critical sustainability goals that could impact their risk profile and financial outcomes.
Generalist audiences – employees, customers, suppliers and communities – are looking to the same report for the vision and story that bring the data and overall sustainability scorecard to life.
Ask yourself if a pared back narrative will engage this generalist audience and help them understand where sustainability sits in relation to company values and other strategic priorities. Put as much effort into telling a compelling story as you have for the evidence to back it up and you’ll have a set of sustainability messages with much broader application from an audience perspective.
Be clear on commitment, progress and action
Verified data on impacts is essential for mapping the past and forecasting the future.
This couldn’t be more important in the sustainability context as it sets organisations up for selecting strategic priorities that ladder up to targets for reducing negative impacts.
For construction giant Boral, an ASX-listed company, setting a specific target for Scope 1 and 3 emissions reduction in 2019 left them with a risk exposure to manage when it became clear their ambitions were not aligned with progress.
In a media release from 23 October 2023, the company went public with a reduction in their 2025 emissions target from 18 percent to 12-14 percent. Along with abundant proof points supporting their strategic approach to emissions reduction, this communication sends a clear message that their directors take seriously their responsibility to set targets based on the investments and initiatives that make progress possible.
With their Board commitment to ‘carefully review targets before they are set as well ensuring there is a sound, achievable basis for our targets’ Boral is speaking with confidence on their ability to meet expectations of investors and regulators under the new reporting regime.
When challenges present, call out the opportunity
At a time when use of carbon offsets has been hotly debated in sustainability circles and the media, many companies have been unsure how to navigate – and communicate - their position on climate-related targets. In their statement on where they’re heading on emissions reduction, media company JC Decaux have turned their new direction into a compelling soundbite.