How to ease content collection for your sustainability report

22 september 2020

This blog is part of The Terrace’s series on Reporting for Positive Change. Sustainability reporting can be a vital process to support the sustainability strategy within in a company. Yet often, this isn’t the case. Companies report on positive change – rather than reporting for positive change. Every year we support many companies and other organizations on their sustainability reporting journey. In this blog series, we share key learnings – from across our reporting projects and clients.

Once you’ve chosen and aligned the focus of the sustainability report, it’s time to collect the content for the upcoming report. This is the stage in the reporting journey where you may need to engage a lot of people throughout the organization. Be sure to make your requests as specific as possible, making it very clear exactly what you need by when. As relevant, share the page plan, so people understand how their content fits in with the rest of the sustainability report. Check in with content owners to understand in what format data is available more easily.

This is often a quite frustrating step in the process, as it may turn out that the organization is not quite ready to measure progress against key goals. For those KPIs not yet available, don’t try to fix it all for the upcoming report. Especially first time around, focus on what is available and commit to ensure you do capture the relevant data for the next sustainability report!

In this phase, don’t just focus on the data. You also need to collect stories, quotes, anecdotes and pictures that make the sustainability data come to life. Again, be as specific as possible when requesting this type of information, clarifying things like the number of words and the resolution of pictures.

Says Valérie de Boer, Communications Advisor at NGO Cordaid: “Year on year we get better at requesting and collecting the report content and data. This year we made real progress through better alignment with the Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation and Finance teams.” Yvette Moll, Communications Director at retailer Action shares: “After mapping the required visuals and photos against what was available already, it was very efficient to plan one photoshoot for the remaining photos.”

Once the collection process is well on its way, it’s time to really start creating the upcoming sustainability report. This will be the topic of our next reporting blog.

Want more personalized guidance than our blogs provide? Consider joining our reporting webinar (2 Oct) or our reporting workshop (29 Oct) in Amsterdam. 

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