Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) communications are an investor relations focus now more than ever before. Investors are increasingly applying non-financial factors into their analysis process when determining risks and identifying growth opportunities.
In recent years, as ESG has become more mainstream, investors have appreciated that ESG communications, when practiced effectively, can create significant value. Trading patterns since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have also shown that ESG is integrated into many investors’ decision-making processes.
Your company may already have an ESG strategy, or it may not. Regardless, we’ve compiled 6 key tips that will help you enhance your ESG storytelling, no matter if you’re just starting out or if you’re looking to rethink your approach.
Keep reading to learn more.
Why Your IR Website Should Be the Home for Your ESG Story
Your IR website is a portal for all investors to access crucial financial information. But as investor interest in ESG issues intensifies, along with interest from other stakeholders, there’s a need for IR teams to think how they can tell their ESG story in a prominent and easy-to-access manner.
The prominence of Corporate Governance sections on IR websites has increased in recent years, giving greater visibility to companies’ proxy statements, board of directors and annual meeting schedules. The most progressive companies are going one step further by adding dedicated sections for ESG-related information.
And just remember - you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. For example, if your company already produces a sustainability report, pull out the investor-relevant information and post it to your IR website.
Use Internal Collaboration to Your Advantage
At most companies, IR websites are the sole responsibility of the IR team. But with the rise of ESG investing and the need to communicate to a broader group of stakeholders, the time is right for investor relations, corporate communications and public relations to think more carefully about how to tell a consistent story.
For example, if a company tells a powerful story about how it’s helping local communities in a social media post, that story should be easy to find on the company’s website or IR website. Often, it isn’t.
The specifics of how to do this will vary for each company, but there are some powerful results that can be delivered through working together.
Own Your ESG Story and Understand ESG Data Providers
One of the challenges of owning your company’s ESG story is that there are so many other sources of data available. In 2016, there were 125 different ESG data providers, according to a report from State Street Global Advisors, each with their own methodologies. Some of these providers send extensive surveys to IR and legal teams, while others base their ratings on publicly available information.
Therefore, your IR website is an incredibly useful tool for increasing the accuracy of the ESG information that is distributed about your company, providing context and branding that supports your story.
Increase Video Output and Decrease Carbon Footprint
Video meetings and interviews have long been touted as a cost-effective communications tool compared to in-person meetings. The forced adoption of video conferencing due to the COVID-19 outbreak has softened even the harshest critics about the effectiveness of video meetings.
It’s essential that companies bear this mind when travel is once again allowed and in-person meetings can be convened. There will always be a need for in-person events. But do we need to maintain the same volume of in-person events? It’s important that companies walk-the-walk, as well as talk-the-talk, on ESG. Video meetings are an effective way to do so.
Invest in Virtual Events
Almost all public companies transitioned to a virtual AGM in 2020, and many experienced increased attendance and more ESG-focused questions from their retail investors. With that in mind, IR teams are now more confident in participating in virtual investor and analyst days.
Virtual events are considerably more efficient than in-person events, by saving travel time, cost and carbon emissions. Many IR teams are relishing the fact that their CEOs and CFOs can participate in more investor events than ever before, because they’re virtual and, therefore, more efficient.
Think Beyond Just Earnings
Your ESG-focused IR team needs to do more than just report earnings—you need to showcase company sustainability initiatives as part of your broader investment story.
Investors are demanding easily accessible and transparent information about your ESG efforts, and you have an opportunity to provide content that attracts and engages all your stakeholders.
Download Our E-Book for More Best Practices
To help guide you, we created a new white paper that takes a deeper look at ESG communications best practices and provides real-world examples of companies who excel at combining ESG, stakeholder comms and investor relations. We also discuss how COVID-19 has affected ESG.
Download our free e-book and start creating better and more compelling ESG communications that drive value for your company.