3 Phrases to Avoid in Your Sustainability Report

Elaine Cohen, a renowned sustainability report expert, dissects the three most overused and empty phrases in corporate CSR reports. We look at why these are so meaningless, and where the focus should be instead.
3 Phrases to Avoid in Your Sustainability Report
Photo by Anwaar Ali / Unsplash
In: Sustainability, Copywriting

On her insightful blog, esteemed sustainability report expert Elaine Cohen passionately critiques the use of three commonly found and overused phrases in corporate sustainability reports (CSR).

These phrases, which she dubs as "reportspeak," lack depth and purpose, potentially undermining the authenticity and credibility of an organisation's CSR efforts.

The first culprit is the phrase "We are proud of…," which Elaine dismisses as mere empty content. Stating pride in achievements while acknowledging there is more to do adds little value.

Next on the chopping block is the phrase "We know we need to do more," which is equally redundant. Understanding the need for improvement is an implicit part of any responsible reporting, making the statement unnecessary and uninformative.

Finally, Elaine takes aim at the expression "Sustainability is in our DNA." While the sentiment might be well-intentioned, it lacks substance. Instead, demonstrate tangible actions and results.

The argument against these duds revolves around the need for more substantive and meaningful content in CSR reports. The focus should shift from proclaiming pride to showcasing productivity and concrete steps taken toward sustainability goals.

Read Elaine’s full blog post, where she explains precisely why these phrases are so vacuous and damaging:

With thanks to @ElaineCohen for permission to share!

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