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ESG websites: Three frequently asked questions

Sponsored: VP of Software Engineering Donovan Buck breaks down the basics of ESG websites versus traditional ESG reports, and discusses the many benefits that websites offer.


This article is sponsored by BrandExtract

ESG reporting is the new standard for companies who want to manage their risk and communicate their values to their stakeholders. But how can ESG websites take that reporting to the next level? Below are some commonly asked questions about ESG websites and how they help companies lead the way in ESG reporting.

What’s the difference between an ESG report and an ESG website?

The first (and most obvious) difference between ESG reports and websites is the typical format: Traditional reports tend to be discrete documents published in print or as a PDF rather than an interactive site. A printed report or PDF report is a static document, while a website allows for more evergreen content.

You can maintain an ESG site by adding, removing or correcting information. You have room to expand the site and keep using it over the years. Plus, it's more environmentally friendly: You're not having to kill any trees to distribute your report.

ESG reports, in their simplest form, share your company's objectives and past performance on ESG matters, including issues such as diversity and inclusion, environmental consciousness and awareness. An ESG website tends to have a little more narrative content to support the data that you're reporting on.

While there aren't yet legal requirements in the U.S. about the data that ESG reports must include, there are expectations that are set by different standards boards (such as SASB, GRI and TCFD). When creating an ESG report, you can provide just the facts, or you can expand upon it and talk about your vision for the future. And that's where the real value of a website is.

Why are ESG websites beneficial?

As mentioned previously, websites are evergreen, and you can always keep them up to date. Sometimes the metrics that you've reported on need to be updated or changed. It's easy to do with the website, but it's not so easy to do with something that you've printed and distributed in a static document.

It’s also a lot easier to keep an ESG website up to date and grow it over time, instead of starting from scratch each and every year. It’s not a one-and-done type of project: Each year can build upon the previous year’s work and make improvements over time.

ESG websites provide much stronger search engine optimization than PDFs; these sites are also more compliant with American with Disabilities Act requirements and compatible with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, simply because they can provide more accessible features for the user experience. So websites not only offer more accessibility but are compatible with smart devices such as Siri and Alexa.

Data collected by BrandExtract indicates that companies that publish an ESG website have about nine times more traffic on their site than on their PDF report. When your data is more accessible and easier to find and digest, it will draw more eyes to your company.

A website is a living, breathing report where your ESG efforts live in tandem with your brand story. It can be a compelling case for your brand, if ESG is a priority to you and your audience.

What does an ESG website include?

How comprehensive your ESG website is really depends on how tightly sustainability is coupled with your brand and the value proposition of your company. For example, a company that helps its clients handle waste products more efficiently and more sustainably will have a lot of relevant data to report.

When ESG reporting is a significant part of your brand and your value proposition, it's really important that your report be featured on your corporate website. That way, it gets rolled in with your brand message. That’s when it’s crucial to build a narrative around your data.

For other companies who are more reactive to market demands or to expectations from employees, those organizations may choose just to provide the data and hopefully show improvement over the years. But even in those cases, a comprehensive ESG report may be still important if your supply chain is demanding it.

ESG reporting falls along a wide spectrum. It's analogous to investor relations and annual reports: They're big productions for a lot of organizations, with incredible photography and illustrations with many pages. On the other end of the spectrum, some companies just report the bare minimum data expected of them.

Build your next ESG website

BrandExtract and its reporting division ESG Reporting Partners helps companies connect ESG goals with their brand strategy. Using our state-of-the-art reporting platform Artisan, build reporting sites that communicate your vision of the future.     

Contact a strategist today to learn how you can realize your organization’s ESG reporting goals.

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