Showcase my company’s CSR initiatives

Your company has built a corporate social responsibility (CSR) roadmap, complete with milestones and specific measures to achieve them. Now you want to tell everyone about it. Where do you start? What is the best way to structure a clear, credible and effective communication plan covering your CSR strategy and initiatives? Should you spell everything out, or keep it simple? Here are a few guidelines to help you avoid the pitfalls and showcase your CSR initiatives right.

1. Get some critical distance before making a start

Before starting to talk about your strategy, it’s a good idea to take a step back and look at what is already in place. That way, you can decide what exactly you want to tell your audiences about. Here are a few questions that you might want to ask yourself:

  • How mature is your company on CSR issues? How are you positioned compared with your main rivals?
  • What are your main CSR initiatives? Are they part of a specific strategy? Do you have a roadmap with specific, measurable milestones?
  • At what level of governance do you monitor these issues? Is your CEO in charge, or a CSR department?
  • Do you follow one or more sustainability frameworks, such as the Global Reporting Initiative or the UN Global Compact or Sustainable Development Goals, to structure and report on what you are doing? Are you getting advice from an outside provider?
  • Have you identified your main risks? Have you assessed your impacts?

Based on the answers to these questions and depending how far advanced your strategy is, we can help you choose the right communication materials, from infographics and expert articles to opinion pieces, brochures and sustainability reports. We also make sure you use the best channels to reach your communities, which could include websites, social media, newsletters, media relations, print, audio, podcasts and videos.

CSR reports have evolved into a vital tool for businesses to provide information and communicate. When creating a CSR report, you need to tackle three big challenges: editorial quality must be top-notch, you should be able to cater to different audience levels, and you need to have the capacity to share content over time.

2. Picking the right time to communicate (assuming there is one)

Is it the right time? While there is no inherently “bad” time to reach out, to be credible on sensitive issues, it is a good idea to wait until the company has a solid track record and can talk about ongoing efforts to make headway in one or more key themes that are directly connected to the business. For example, you could show how you have:

  • Measured and then curbed the CO2 emissions attributable to your own operations or those of your sub-contractors and partners, in a way that is clearly in step with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement or in accordance with a timetable that sets out exactly how you aim to do this – or why you can’t
  • Audited, monitored and trained suppliers to steer them to solutions that are more respectful of the environment, workers and society
  • Measured and then reduced your biodiversity impact attributable to operations at headquarters and/or manufacturing sites and subsidiaries
  • Trained your workforce and raised awareness about CSR issues connected with the company, the sector, or their own impact as citizens

3. A long-term strategy serving increasingly diverse audiences

To be impactful, formats must be tailored to the expectations and preferences of your audiences.

A sustainable corporate strategy is by definition aimed at a broad, mixed and porous audience. A journalist is also a citizen, an activist customer and an engaged colleague. Hence the need for businesses to be part of the global movement and to reach beyond their usual core or niche audiences when engaging with these topics. We are all affected by the path taken by companies and by the business sector as a whole. Business has a pivotal role to play and needs to show government the way forward.

Be more impactful and reach a broader audience by planning for multiple readership levels and ensuring that every aspect of your sustainability strategy is crystal clear:

  • Data viz, infographics and motion design can convey key figures, such as goals, milestones or non-financial KPIs
  • Articles that unpick a specific topic, opinion pieces and white papers can provide contextual information on your market/sector
  • Interviews, videos and snackable content with quotes from key people can illustrate your vision and convictions
  • Reports, success stories and portraits will keep readers abreast of the latest news from the field

By providing reader-friendly, contextualised, credible information, high-quality editorial treatment can be decisive in boosting the impact of your strategy on diverse audiences.

CSR communication is a juggling act

Structuring your data

Structuring your data

Before communicating, you first need to sort through, select and rank the information that you plan to collect. Gathering information may be tough if you haven’t first organised your CSR data into categories that reflect your company or that are aligned with internationally recognised frameworks such as the GRI or Global Compact.

Down with greenwashing! Actions speak louder than words.

There are many potential greenwashing pitfalls. From grand statements of intent that are not followed up by meaningful action, to unrealistic goals or window-dressing initiatives, greenwashers are often found out. To make sure you are not merely putting a green sheen on your communications, you need to provide real evidence for all your main thematic areas. That might include quantitative targets, action plans or initiatives, and tracking of outcomes over time.

Solid, regular and varied journalistic information based on reports, interviews and videos from the field will help to support your claims, highlight your actual progress and get more stakeholders on board. Time to get started!

What's the best type of report to publish?

What’s the best type of report to publish?

When it comes to annual reporting, there are several formats to consider. In the European Union, if your firm is listed on the stock exchange or generates revenues of over EUR 100 million, you are required to publish an annual report and a non-financial performance report. Some firms also choose to publish an report comprising financial and non-financial performances. Today, no company would dream of publishing an annual report that does not cover sustainability and the firm’s impact on society. To reach a broader audience that is not necessarily interested in your financials or the details of your business model, we recommend publishing a CSR report.


When do I publish my CSR report? EU companies that are required to publish a non-financial performance report have up to eight months after the firm’s close of accounts to do so. Otherwise, the best time to publish is before the summer, and ideally before September, which should give enough time to finalise the data from the previous financial year.