Today all companies need to address Sustainability, ESG, and Corporate Responsibility on the web. What’s the best approach for you?
There are factors to consider as you identify the right approach for your company. First, determine what words you want to adopt—Sustainability or ESG—as the overarching name, and who the hub is for. The audience for this information is broad, but no website can be all things to all stakeholders!
Next, determine the company’s approach to the web: a single central site or an ecosystem of sites? Is your corporate website flexible enough to accommodate the content? Will Sustainability be lost among transactional or product content? What are the technical limitations? Once you consult with your web team you can weigh the factors, both content and technological, and determine the best approach. Below are two examples.
Create a Microsite
For some companies, the corporate website is focused on consumer or product content. The audiences for ESG/Sustainability information may get lost, information may be hard to find, or the site just may not be optimized for this type of storytelling. In this case, a stand-alone microsite approach can give the ESG/Sustainability team flexibility to craft the narrative and engage their audiences. A benefit of this approach is that the content can be tailored to your primary audiences with multiple paths, and you can work with an expert partner of your choosing. You may be able to “self-govern” so you are not tied to an existing web publication strategy. A drawback can be that you need to work harder to surface the content in a search on the corporate site (depending on how it is all set up), but it might be easier to find in search engines like Google.
Dominion Energy created an ESG hub that weaves together various reporting and links to consumer and investor sites, and established a home for future ESG content. The latest ESG news is surfaced here, and links to the corporate news hub. The goal is not to duplicate the content, but to give it prominent signposting, so all audiences—employees, recruits, raters & rankers, customers, investors, and more—can find what they are looking for.
Create a Section on the Corporate Website
Adding content to the corporate website can be complex at some companies, and a breeze at others. If your web team is on board, you can build out a section that reflects your strategies. A benefit of this approach is that you may be able to feature your Sustainability content in other areas of the site. A drawback is that you may be limited as to what stories to tell and the volume and frequency of publishing, depending on how the site is managed and the appetite for elevating these messages. You might want broader content, not only ESG content for investor audiences. If you can’t aggregate the content and control a section, an index approach is another to consider.
Armstrong World Industries created a Sustainability section on their corporate website. IOP worked to architect the website section, and then created the site with the company’s in-house web team. No outside developer was needed, and the effort was centered on selecting the right content and how to display it. We were able to leverage content from their Sustainability report as well as web-specific content and build out a robust site section. The content links to their various product sites, the investor relations site, and relevant articles.
Whether you integrate content into your corporate site or create a stand-alone microsite, a Sustainability or ESG hub can help audiences find the information they are looking for: stories, reporting, policies, data and the company’s overall approach. Increasing visibility of this information has positive implications, helping reinforce what is important to the company and to your stakeholders, increasing visibility for rankers and raters, and clarity in your commitments. Consistency in your communications reinforces all the efforts the company is making and increases understanding.
How Ideas On Purpose Can Help
For over 20 years IOP has been helping companies of all sizes with purpose-driven communications, including corporate reporting, and ESG, DEI, and Sustainability storytelling. Our strategy, content, digital and creative teams are ready to help you define and tell your ESG/Sustainability story and meet your reporting goals. Feel free to email us, we’re happy to discuss the possibilities.