CSR Corporate and Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility, or CSR, is now a necessity. Stakeholders no longer just want to know whether a company is making money - they'd like some reassurance about how it's being made.

So, when writing about CSR, it's important to first ask yourself what's important to your audience. Then you organise your information into sections that reflect these concerns.

As for content - edit out worthy intentions. Instead, explain what you're actually doing, what effect it's having and why it's important. And provide evidence of your effectiveness to give your actions credibility. A discursive tone works well. It allows you to be honest about the challenges.

Do all that and people will believe you're serious about CSR and realise you genuinely care.

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coke thumbnailThe challenge: Coca-Cola felt they weren’t communicating their sustainability efforts clearly enough.

The brief: highlight the company’s positive and responsible practices in a strong, serious and credible tone of voice – without veering into bravado. With a diverse and international audience, the copy needed to be jargon-free and easy to grasp. Collateral included a website, brochure and series of leaflets.

The solution: stripping out repetition made the remaining messages more impactful. On the website and in the leaflet, we made key messages became sound bites and turned paragraphs into bullet points.

The writing:

“Expectations are rising and stakeholders want companies to take broader accountability outside of their own operations. We agree. This input has guided the development of our work and will continue to inform how we approach our commitment to CSR”.

See the work here.

The result: the website is still up, educating the world about Coca-Cola’s proactive green efforts.

The credits: Copywriter agency: Barnaby Benson Copywriting, London. Copywriter: Joseph Richardson. Design agency: SalterBaxter. Client: Coca-Cola Europe.

Land Securities

land Sec big CoverThe challenge: make CSR relevant. With investors firmly in mind, we needed to draw out the business benefits of operating sustainably. The company’s impact on other stakeholders also needed addressing, namely communities, the environment and customers.

The brief: help devise the structure of the CR report, then write it. Suggest sections to make it easier for the different audiences to navigate and understand the contents.

The solution: structure the brochure around Land Securities’ positive impacts: sustainable business, stronger communities and better environments. Adopt an open and discursive tone throughout and compliment with tangible examples. Be honest about the challenges of running the UK’s largest property development company in a sustainable way.

The writing:

“Sustainable business is good business. Build a shopping centre that meets local needs and the community will support it, making it a more valuable asset. Ensure your buildings are environmentally efficient through cost-effective measures and you will increase their appeal and future-proof them against new regulations. Provide a motivating, meritocratic and vibrant working environment and you will attract and retain the brightest talent.”

The result: the stakeholder panel won’t report their response to the completed 49-page brochure for another twelve months. But both client and agency see it as a major step forward on the previous year's report.

The credits: Copywriter agency: Barnaby Benson Copywriting, London. Copywriter: Barnaby Benson. Design agency: SAS London. Client: Land Securities.

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