Where should you start?
Now you have an idea of what an impact report is, here are some practical steps for you to consider. This will form the content of the impact report:
Consider your company’s ESG story
- Storytelling in sustainability reporting and communication is a vital way to engage your audiences. Think about your company’s purpose, it’s place within its industry and society, and how this could create a bespoke ESG-related narrative that could distinguish you from your competitors, as well as tell a powerful story to your stakeholders about your positive impact.
Start looking at the positive and negative impacts of your business mode
- It is important for you to understand your impacts to illustrate your company’s responsible approach to business. Consider evaluating your company’s value chain to identify the impacts your business activities have on sustainable development, in terms of economic, environmental and social impacts.
Gather performance data, where possible
- While storytelling in sustainability reporting is important, reporting must also be evidence-based. We’ve noticed that many first-time reporters may not yet have a complete set of performance data relating to the areas they want to talk about and can be reluctant to put data in the public domain. However, it is best to scrutinise the data and include what you can in order to allow stakeholders to have as complete a picture as possible and to demonstrate a commitment to transparency.
Consider the best channel
- Consider the purpose of your reporting. For example, which key stakeholders are you trying to reach, inform and engage – from employees and partners, to investors, customers and other stakeholder groups – and what do you want them to do with the information? If reporting is aimed towards investors for example, a chapter in the annual report may be most suitable. On the other hand, if informing customers is paramount, then an impact report can work well, which can be published on your website and social media.