As sustainability continues to grow within the business and non-profit communities, so too has the need for clear communication about this space. A company’s ability to communicate sustainability accomplishments, goals, and strategies has become crucial to the internal and external success of any aspect of a sustainability-focused program. Recognizing the importance of communication, Justmeans’s Social Innovation Awards places a large emphasis on this practice in four key areas:
Marketing and Communications: Best Integrated Report - This award category showcased the company or organization that has done the most to integrate social and environmental assets and liabilities into a seamless combined financial and non-financial report. While the field of integrated reporting remains nascent, this category awarded the company that has made the most progress in integrating financial and non-financial performance indicators.
Marketing and Communications: Best Stakeholder Engagement - This award went to the company or organization that best demonstrated how its corporate strategy engages stakeholders. Stakeholder engagement involves the methods by which companies participate in multi-way communications with key influencers in their business, including investors, activists, employees, customers or government bodies. Many companies make commitments to stakeholder engagement but often fail to act on the priorities of stakeholders.
For both the Best Integrated Report and the Best Stakeholder Engagement, Judges agreed that SAP, a company with a sterling reputation for its sustainability reporting, demonstrated that its newly integrated report was both an effective means of communication to the external and internal communities.
This year SAP aligned the publishing of its Sustainability Report with SAP’s Annual Report. This way, readers could easily go back and forth between the Sustainability report and the SAP Annual Report to get a comprehensive picture of the company’s environmental, social, and financial performance. In addition, SAP linked the Sustainability Report to their annual report for the UN Global Compact Report, outlining how SAP fulfills the 10 UN Global Compact principles. Furthermore, the SAP sustainability report was designed as a key element of their overall stakeholder program. Its mission is to engage an interactive, year-around conversation with their stakeholders about SAP’s sustainability strategy, performance, and impact. Beyond an interactive website, the report was (and remains) accessible via mobile phones and tablets and content can be consumed through a variety of social and mobile channels.
SAP identified its stakeholders as employees, customers, partners, NGOs, media, financial and industry analysts, academics and a range of thought leaders on sustainability. Therefore, SAP dedicated an entire section of the report to promote the sharing of perspectives and best sustainability practices and help everyone get involved. For example, stakeholders could comment on SAP’s materiality matrix and even create one of their own. They also can comment on each page of the report.
Best Use of New Media - The award in this category went to the company, brand, or organization that demonstrates the best use of new media, including gaming, location, social media, listening platforms, crowdsourcing, and mobile devices to advance social and environmental change. Judges in the Social Innovation Awards agreed that Stonyfield’s program demonstrated a unique and multifaceted approach to using new media. The program operated as follows:
In 2011, Stonyfield launched a comprehensive Organic Stories campaign that included three dedicated new media efforts designed to educate and get people talking about organic. Moving from farm to table, Stonyfield started in January where organic begins – on the farm – with Grant a Farmer’s Wish, a Facebook application that introduced consumers to organic farmers. Fans watched video stories from farmers and voted to help the company award funding for innovative organic farming projects that had a positive environmental impact and improved the long-term viability of organic farming. In March, Stonyfield moved to the story of organic food production and launched Just Eat Organic, a music video by Stonyfield President & CE-Yo Gary Hirshberg. The rap video spoke to the value of organic and told the story of America's switch from family farms to modern agriculture. "The Stonyfield Moms," three employee volunteers, rapped the upbeat chorus and consumers tweeted additional lyrics and submitted personal "Just Eat Organic!" shout-outs. In April, Stonyfield shared organic at the table, releasing The Organic Moment, a visual and interactive digital platform for people to share personal stories about what organic means to them. The campaign featured stories from individuals, influencers, employees, and companies who make organic a part of their lives. The social platform created an online community of organic eaters and culminated with a personal story appearing on their December 2011 lid.
Marketing and Communications: Best Online Report - The recipient of this award as to be the company or organization that has created the best online and informative experience around a sustainability, CSR, ESG, or integrated "report". In the case of Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA), judges felt that their online report was a paradigm for effective use of the web for reporting.
Judges remarked that the report effectively accomplished the two aspects most needed for an effective online report. On one side, the content of the report was impressive in its own right: NWNA established goals specific to advancing their reporting initiatives by sharing information pertaining to issues most material to our business and stakeholders. The Report reflected both the broad commitments and the small steps toward their goals of water advocacy, minimizing environmental impact, and making a positive impact in their stakeholder communities. The other component of an effective online report was how the company has evolved the way they report their goals and progress. For example, NWNA chose to develop an online microsite to reduce the environmental impact of a printed report. They then built on this online platform for their next Report in 2012 and identified ways to push content out through social media channels. However, to ensure the information is accessible to all of their audiences, they also printed a brochure featuring highlights of the online version. The brochure was printed with vegetable-based inks on Rolland Enviro100 Print, which contains 100% post-consumer fiber and is FSC Recycled certified. They have committed to continuing to explore innovative ways to produce the Report in a responsible manner.
Justmeans will be highlighting video interview with the winners, impressive applications, and more from the 2012 Social Innovation Awards ceremony over the next few weeks. For more information, please visit the websitewww.socialinnovationawards.com.