My lessons learned: What to expect from a good CSR / Sustainability blog

I have been running this blog since early 2008 now. It started as a collection of personal thoughts and events but ever since I started to write a little more about CSR / Sustainability I also had to make sure I am listing to my readers enough to get an interesting discussion going.

The topic of this post is to provide you with some of the these lessons I learned over the past years when it comes to my blog design, the content and what my readers are looking for:

  • Post on a regular basis: At least once a week but not each day. There is a fine balance in my view. And when it comes to CSR / Sustainability a lower frequency of posts each week gives you as the writer the possibility to focus on a topic or theme and not have to worry about swamping your readers inbox or RSS feed.
  • Keep your blog design simple and accessible: I am not someone that is very inclined to read a blog post that is looking to ‘busy’ and is over -designed. In my view the content needs to be the focus. My blog is simple in terms of design and my experience over the past years has shown that this is the best way forward when you write about CSR / Sustainability.
  • Try to write about something you know more than others about: Sounds obvious but you will not believe how many people are writing about something they do not really know much about. And these are not blogs that will attract lots of readers and create an interesting discussion in my view.
  • Write about best practice: CSR / Sustainability reporting for example is always an interesting topic to write about. Reporting is not on the top of my agenda but a post every now and then is always received well. Other popular best practice topics include social media, CSR / Sustainability strategy and stakeholder engagement. Try to mix these up a little over the course of the month as well. A good variety always makes interesting reading.
  • Try to be challenging: I am not the fiercest and challenging CSR / Sustainability blogger around but I found that challenging the overall CSR / Sustainability best practice on occassion is an interesting topic for posts. You need to find a balance here as well of course but I believe that being critical and constructive at the same time is usually a good combination.

These are some of the lessons learned for me. What are yours?

What do you expect from the 2011 CSR / Sustainability reporting season?

2011 has only just started and I am already expecting some interesting companies to  publish their CSR / Sustainability reports shortly. Novo Nordisk is one of them for example.

But the question for today’s blog post is what you expect from 2011 the upcoming CSR / Sustainability reporting season. Do you feel that we have an innovate year in front of us or will 2011 be a year of transition where finally integrated reporting will make a proper splash in our CSR / Sustainability reporting world for example?

Here is what I think (I guess you saw that one coming). ūüėČ

CSR / Sustainability Reporting in 2011 – My expectations

  • The continued rise of Integrated Reporting: GRI and Integrated Reporting will be as big a topic in 2011 as it was in 2010 since the GRI is now fully committed to push integrated reporting. What the result will be is another question but I believe that integrated reporting will be as huge as a topic in 2011.
  • Interactivity and Social Media: An increased interactivity with social media sites such a Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn will give CSR / Sustainability Reports a whole now look and feel about them. The danger here is that if a company decides to go down the social media integration route it needs to be innovative and forward thinking. A half-hearten approach will most likely not be successful.
  • Most will be online but print will stay as well: The vast majority of reports will be even more extensive online in terms of content. The printed report will not be as comprehensive. But a printed brochure or short report will still be something each organization needs to produce in my view.
  • Another year of records: I am not sure about the total numbers but I am certain that we will see another record breaking year in terms of the number of companies producing CSR / Sustainability reports.

These are four my expectations for 2011. What are yours?

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How to find the interesting and non-promotional CSR / Sustainability articles

One of my goals for 2011 when the New Year arrived was to be more critical of the things I am reading and listening to when it comes to CSR / Sustainability communications and literature. One thing in particular is really starting to annoy me more and more: Most articles on CSR / Sustainability nowadays are commercially driven and most of the time only serve one purpose and that is to sell the product or service of the author, website or business.

For me it therefore very important to spend my time wisely during the day to not read something that in the end turns out to be a promotion for a product/service or business in general.

So the question for me is: How do you sort out the interesting, ie. non-commercial and non self-promotional blogs/publications or tweets from the the general and overly commercial noise of the CSR / Sustainability world?

I would really be interested to hear from you about how you do this. This is what I do at the moment.

1) I only skim my Google Reader RSS feeds in order to find interesting articles. Going into detail while browsing is very time consuming and can disappoint you very soon.

2) I only follow the people on Twitter that I feel deliver the most interesting and non commercial information. I call it my best of the best list.

3) I DO NOT sign up for newsletters anymore. Period.

4) I only join the major social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. More social networks is my experience will only confuse you and make your life even harder in terms of finding an interesting CSR / Sustainability article / post.

5) I use a separate email address for anything where my email address is needed in order to get some further information. Never use your main email address otherwise you will never be left alone. That is my experience.

These are five things I am doing to try to limit my exposure to the commercial and self-promotional blogs/publications or tweets.

What do you do?

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The week that rocked AccountAbility

This week was not a good week for AccountAbility. Last week the Standards Board, the voluntary advisory body convened last summer to provide technical guidance on the AA1000 Standards, collectively resigned as it did not agree with the future strategy of the not-for-profit organization and felt that the senior management at AccountAbility did not engage with them in finding a compromise that satisfied every party.

This is the official AccountAbility response: AccountAbility Response to Standards Board Resignation

The purpose of this post is to provide you some selected links of reactions to this shocking news.

As a former employee of AccountAbility this is not good news and I am very curious how this will turn out in the end. Will AccountAbility engage, will they try to convince other influential individuals to come speak out for them and their strategy as Mallen Baker points out or will they just try to sit it out. Whatever the do they need to engage with us, their stakeholders now and I hope they choose the form of a dialogue.

Here are some selected posts on the resignation of the Standards Board:

What you can do

If you would like to join the discussion about this topic why not join the new AA1000 User Group on LinkedIn – LinkedIn Group?

Have a good weekend everyone.

The funny but also true side of the global warming terminology

Welcome to 2011 everyone. A short post to kick of the new year in terms of posts seemed appropriate today.

This is a great video I wanted to share about the current global warning sentiment and terminology confusion. Way over the top but also so true. Enjoy!

Thanks to David Connor for pointing me to this great video!