Challenge: Most companies now publish an annual sustainability or ESG report, summarizing their annual progress against their stated environmental and social goals. There are multiple problems with how most of these are created today:

  • Most reports aren’t clear on the audience, so they speak to nobody.
  • Most reports take an “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” approach. That makes it hard for the reader to find the information they’re looking for.
  • Most reports are built as stand-alone outputs without a holistic strategy for how they can be multipurposed for ongoing communications—in order to gain a market advantage as a result of the company’s environmental and social efforts.

Solution: Shelton Group’s Define/Leverage approach to all reports:

Assess: Using research, we start by measuring attitudes and beliefs to identify sustainability white space you can own that will engage your audience.

Meta's 2023 Sustainability Report

Prescribe: Armed with these insights, we build a Communications Construct – the story strategy and narrative that will undergird all sustainability communications, including the report.

Papa John's 2021 Corporate Responsibility Report

Validate: Then we get very clear about who we’re talking to and what they most care about and want to hear, building out a Messaging Matrix to align key messages and proof points with the right audience, all under the umbrella of the Construct.

HNI's 2022 Corporate Social Responsibility Report

Plan: Leveraging that ownable position and key messaging, we craft the entire report or core sections of the report for distinct audiences. In other words, sometimes there’s simply one report, layered in such a way that a casual reader can find what they’re looking for easily and a more data-driven reader can find their information, too. Sometimes the report isn’t “a” report, but a full report with a handful of smaller reports, infographics or decks that present the story in different ways to each audience. That way we ensure we’re including the right data and stories and using the right words to appeal to our most important audiences.

Meta's 2023 Responsible Business Practices Report


  • We build the reports so sections can be repurposed for multiple uses. For instance, we believe in overviews of a company’s vision or goals against progress that can easily be pulled out and dropped into an investor relations or sales team deck. We also believe in including infographics that can be repurposed on social and, again, in presentations.
  • Lastly, the report should be one piece of a broader sustainability or ESG communications plan, all flowing from the initial narrative, the Communications Construct.

Refine: Every client report builds on the reports that came before it. We analyze report results based on metrics that matter, always optimizing and looking for ways to improve not only the report content itself, but also the working process for creating the report.

In addition to the reports featured here, we've worked with other fantastic brands to get the most out of our approach to reporting + comms: