Tips for beginners

Tips for beginners

No fear about first report

Anyone who decides to prepare a sustainability report should take this step carefully and systematically. Many aspects and pitfalls have to be considered along the project plan. In the following, our consultants have compiled a few tips and hints to help you get started with reporting.

Communication strategy

Does your company have a communication strategy based on sustainability? Reporting only makes sense if it is continuously updated. Those who are not prepared to give the report a longer-term perspective should invest their budget in the next company outing.

General conditions

A reasonably reasonable reporting always requires resources, internally as well as externally. Data collection, discussion and, above all, coordination take time – especially for initial reports. Develop a well thought-out, realistic and resilient project plan. Attention: It always takes longer than you think! Communicate your plans and expectations internally at an early stage. And: Stay on the ball. The first report needs your full attention because it still has few friends in the company.

Target group and topics

Sustainability can be checked just as easily as business balance sheets. So it’s better to avoid “greenwashing” and exaggerated self-congratulations. Here you score with authenticity and credibility. Find out who the key stakeholders in your report are. The content should be geared to their interests. Analyze the topics on which you take a stand in individual chapters. Important: What information is required for this and what data should be used to document these topics?

Research and texts

Once the rough content concept has been established, information and data for individual chapters are collected in a structured manner. For this purpose, create editorial requirement specifications that simplify internal data retrieval within the company. The texts should be clearly formulated and the topics should be presented, structured and described in a clear and understandable way. Important: Do not give up hymns of praise for your own performance. This weakens the credibility of the report. Instead, report on setbacks and mistakes.



Pay attention to a clear design language that supports the reporting. This is achieved above all through authentic image material with editorial reference. Jewelry photos and refined but ecologically questionable print quality lead to irritation among the stakeholders.


The trend clearly points in the direction of online reporting. The media characteristics of the Internet such as topicality, variability and user-friendliness favour reporting over the sequential and static structure of a brochure. Online, various aspects can be better put into context in terms of content and dialogue is immediately possible. Nevertheless, a printed report still has its raison d’être: It convinces with its inner unity and can be used everywhere. Both forms unfold their full potential in interaction.