Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sustainable thank you

Thank you. Two little words that go a long way.  Writing Sustainability Reports take quite some effort and I was wondering how Companies go about publicly thanking those who have contributed to improved performance and to the production of the sustainability report itself. A little common courtesy and appreciation makes a big difference and adds a human face to reports. Even to the most boring of reports (mentioning no names :))

Who should you thank in a CSR Report?

Employees who have done their stuff
Stakeholders for reading the report and for (hopefully) providing feedback
Consultants, advisors, designers, assurers, copywriters etc who have worked with the company and/or on the report (yes, we are people too!)
External organisations who have supported the Company's sustainability initiatives
The CSR Reporting Manager ?

Who are the best thankers?

Thank (you) appears 6 times in the EasyJet Annual Report and Accounts (integrated CSR report) for 2009. Twice for retiring Board Members, once for the CEO, once for everyone who helped produce the report (by name) and a nice thank you to Easy Jet pilots (page 16) : We have outstanding people, including our front line cabin crew and pilots who are highly trained and professional. They all make a crucial contribution to our success and help to create an easyJet personality which is an important competitive advantage. I would like to thank them all for helping to deliver such a resilient performance in very difficult economic circumstances

Thank (you) appears twice in the Verizon 2009/2010 Sustainability Report - actually it's the same thank you to all employees from the Chairman and CEO which appears once in his opening remarks and once again, highlighted, at the end of the report. That's good enough for me. Twice.

Thank (you) appears once in the GoLite 2009 first sustainability report, and this is addressed to readers who are apparently as passionate about sustainability as the GoLite company is . 

Thank (you) appears once in the Zeon Corporation Report 2009 of Japan. Again addressed to report readers as it does in the Union Pacific Report for 2009.

Thank (you) appears once in the Bacardi Report for 2009, thanking readers in anticipation of their feedback.

Thank (you) does not appear at all in the Barilla 2008 CSR report (published August 2010) though there are 9 instances of the phrase thanks to .. thanks to the collaboration of, thanks to the team of ... but thanks to is not thank you. So I don't count it. Tough, aren't I ? 

Thank (you) does not appear at all in the Cooperative Group Sustainability Report for 2009, nor in the National Bank of Abu Dhabi's first report for 2009, nor in Vodafone's Report for the year to March 2010, nor in Dong Energy's report for 2009, nor in AEP's 2009 Corporate Accountability Report, nor in P&G's 2009 report.  Intel's 2009 Report doesn't thank anyone directly either, though it does refer to employee programs in which employees are thanked for every day performance. 
Actually, this surprises me. After I have worked on a report with a client, I feel soooo grateful to all those who have helped put it together, that it seems obvious that thanks are in order. Putting thanks in print is a positive thing to do - everyone like their efforts to be appreciated even if it is not individually by name. Thanking them in some other way (nice letter, box of chocs, bunch of flowers, life-time supply of ChunkyMonkey) are good too, but do not replace the impact of public recognition. Let's remember that it's people who run companies and people who write reports. Well done to EasyJet and Verizon for being the winners in my brief random analysis.

Thank you for reading this post.
Thank you for reading this post.
Thank you for reading this post.
THANK YOU for reading this post.

Ok, you can overdo it a little as well. :)   

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Contact me via  on Twitter or via my business website  (BeyondBusiness, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm)

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