t's that time of year again where everyone's putting out their impact and ESG reports. I've been checking many of them out as I peruse through LinkedIn. There are a couple of things that are becoming clear in terms of what really makes an excellent report. So I wanted to share those thoughts with you.
First: it's critical to tell a story with your data. What are the important things that you're paying attention to in your data? Where are you doing well, where are you not doing well? Laying that out in a way that is consumable is crucial.
Second: providing context. The reports that really help me understand the information I'm looking at are telling me what's happening in the macro environment, telling me what types of companies they're invested in, and really helping me understand how to situate the data.
Third: blending quantitative and qualitative data. It's great to see a series of numbers. And charts. But it's also critical to understand specific examples. Every company is different in how they approach making changes—where have they made improvements? What they are committed to? Those sorts of things.
Fourth: it's really important that people share not only their outcomes, but also their actions. So not just saying, "We have a turnover rate of 10%," but also, "Here are the steps we're taking to address that." What are the things that you're putting in place to make sure that employees are happy, so they'll stay around longer? What trainings are you doing? Those sorts of things are really important for people to understand the "how."
Finally: when I'm looking at a report and see entities looking only in the rear-view mirror instead of projecting their aspirations forward for the future, it leaves me feeling a little bit lost. I don't know where you're going. What's the purpose? What's your North Star? If you're trying to be carbon neutral by 2030, understanding where you are in that journey—here in 2023—helps others understand who you are as an entity.
These are just a couple of tips for those putting together impact or ESG reports right now. Good luck to you, and I hope that all of your investors are happy.