How to write an impact report: five top tips

LEAP Our impact

In this latest article in our impact reporting series, we are going to share a set of tips from some brilliant B Corps and B Leaders on how to write an impact report. Some of these B Corps have published multiple impact reports, others are in the midst of producing their first, and we spoke with one B Leader who specialises in advising B Corps on how to go about the process. We asked each of them what they would do differently or what they would give greater priority to, when they sit down to start planning their next one. We hope that their advice will stand you in good stead if you are tasked with writing an impact report.

1) Research

If you haven’t produced a document like this before then it is really worthwhile spending some time looking at previous examples from other B Corps. Look at different sectors and industries too, not just businesses similar to yours. It can take a bit of digging around on websites but you can also email other B Corps directly or post on the B Hive. There are so many great examples in the community to take inspiration from, but you need to keep the tone and format true to your brand and remember that what works for one won’t necessarily work for you.
Adele Gingell
Impact Manager, Finisterre

(Check out Finisterre’s recent Positive Impact Report here.)

2) Be Selective, But Show Both Sides Of The Story

The BIA is such a broad church that there’s no way you can speak about all of it in your impact report. Be really clear about what your readers will be interested to know more about at this moment in time, and remember – that often means the challenges as well as the triumphs. It’s about striking a balance between going into the finer details so you have the detail whilst keeping things short and snappy and in your brand style. Work with a good copywriter and be ruthless in your editing!
Jessica Ferrow
B Leader and co-founder of Twelve

3) Embrace The Opportunity

It’s easy to see the impact report as a challenge, a mountain to climb. If you see it instead though as an opportunity to better understand the way you work and a chance to identify ways you can measure and improve, then for us, that made everything flow a little more and gave us some really clear ways to prioritise and also to tell our story.”
Faye Clifton
Sales and Marketing Manager, Green and Blue

4) Get Everyone Involved

Writing an impact report can feel like a labour of love. Share the load across your teams – enlist your finance colleagues who are great at numbers to capture your environmental data, find a project manager keen to coordinate the process challenge your design team to make it look great, encourage people to share the stories they’re proud of. It helps to have senior buy in to ensure people can prioritise the time.
Vicky Murray
Sustainability Manager, Pukka Herbs

5) Set Targets

Setting targets and reporting on progress against these is key to robust impact reporting. This allows stakeholders to understand the path you are on and where you are in the journey. For example, climate impact reporting should include all relevant greenhouse gas emissions data, including data associated with the use of your product or service and impacts related to land use, but also time-bound reduction goals, such as net zero by 2030, and details on the suite of actions intended to achieve the target, from operational reductions, product innovations and the use of carbon offsets. Ideally, the quantified financial risks and opportunities can also be included in the reporting so the reader can understand how these impacts relate to your business strategy.
Lisa Walker
CEO, Ecosphere+

(Learn more about Ecosphere+’s Impact Reporting methodology and how they measure impact on their forest carbon projects by clicking here).

Are you about to get started on your business’ impact reporting process? Do you need further advice on how to go about producing it, or are interested in how we can help you to design an engaging document for your stakeholders? If so, please get in touch using the details below.