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Event Highlights | Rewiring the Ecosystem for Resilience: The Principles of Trust

Purpose: The key to rewiring corporate success

We presented key statistics from our latest FTSE 100 Corporate Reporting research on trends and better practice, while also addressing significant trends in our webinar launch on 25 June.

The launch of this “Rewiring the Ecosystem for Resilience” research was the first of the two-part webinar on the research findings, and this first one focused on our Six Principles of Trust. The event was led by Sallie Pilot, Chief Engagement Officer and Anne Kirkeby, Lead Corporate Reporting Consultant.

 

Overview

The overarching view we shared in the session was that over the last few years, purpose has truly impacted the corporate agenda, with more organisations realising the commercial opportunities of a unifying and authentic corporate purpose. In addition, corporates are responding well to themes raised by regulatory, social and investor groups, such as stakeholder engagement, ESG and sustainability. However, there is room for improvement for corporates to authentically evidence their actions after rewiring their approach on some of these issues.

According to Anne, “Companies have reached a tipping point in realising the impact of societal value drivers for their future. Till more recently, they have understood these in theory but the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated how we view these in practice and their crucial importance.”

Black Sun views these issues, drivers and themes through our ‘Six Principles of Trust’. We believe that these are more than communication considerations, but rather overarching principles that should be on the Board agenda to enable companies to prosper over the long-term while contributing positively to society. These Six Principles are Purpose, Culture, Cognitive Diversity, Stakeholder Engagement, Responsible Business, Transformational and Long-term thinking. We believe that individually and collectively, these Principles have never been more important to companies and will serve as an invaluable reference point as they attempt to ‘build back better’ after the global effects of COVID-19.

 

Research findings

In terms of reporting against our Six Principles of Trust, here are some strides forward and areas for improvement revealed in our research:

  • Purpose is not just a slogan on the inside front cover of reports, but while the majority of companies report a purpose beyond shareholder value (82%), very few evidence how this is integral this is in driving long term sustainable performance.

  • Companies are improving their disclosure of how culture is embedded in their business. They are also getting better at linking this to commercial value, as evidenced by 35% of reports reviewed.

  • Nearly all FTSE100 reports have some form of discussion on stakeholder engagement, with 21% outlining expectations for some of their key stakeholders. Also, 20% of FTSE companies are beginning to discuss stakeholders in relation to strategy, which shows more steps being taken towards integrated management in an increasingly stakeholder-centric world.

  • Diversity is becoming a standard topic discussed in 80% of reports, yet only 7% link it to strategy, suggesting that cognitive diversity is still seen as a moral issue rather than a commercial opportunity or strength.

  • Although many companies are insufficiently balanced in their view of their wider impact or lack accountable targets, the Principle ‘Responsible Business’ shows that 60% of companies discuss the SDG’s and 67% report against the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD). The increase in reporting against these frameworks highlights the importance of the sustainability agenda to investors and wider stakeholders. Sustainability and ESG are truly mainstream now.

  • Transformation and long-term thinking further evidences the rise of sustainability in reporting and as a genuine issue. Now 46% of market review sections reference sustainability, however there appears to be little evidence that companies see sustainable solutions as a commercial opportunity yet.

 

How we can help?

  • Led by insight - We provide research-led consultancy insights to enhance communications and support better practice reporting. This includes regulatory advice, consultancy for ESG and Sustainability, as well as benchmarking. We can also help frame and inform your COVID-19 report communications, and give advice and guidance on how to best communicate and engage with your stakeholders through various platforms. 

  • Communications planning – We can work with you to develop a communications plan that ensures a coherent and consistent suite of messages are delivered in a seamless and integrated way through all your touchpoints.

  • Connecting through film - One of the most powerful ways to reach remote audiences is to harness the power of film. We would recommend including rich media such as video or animations in your communications mix.

  • Engaging your remote workforce – This will remain one of the biggest challenges facing organisations even beyond the pandemic. We can help you connect and engage with your employees by developing internal communications programmes and by opening new digital engagement channels such as employee Apps.

  • Sustaining your voice through digital marketing – We can help to  continue to sustain your external communications, across social media, through broadcast channels such as email, and ensure that you stay relevant and connected with your stakeholders.

  • Measuring engagement and interactions - As more communications go online, your company will need to understand how people are engaging with you. We can help you develop measurements and analytics that give you the insight to continuously improve the effectiveness of your communications.

 

If you would like to find out how else we can support you, please contact Naomi Hawkins at NHawkins@blacksunplc.com

Black Sun is a stakeholder communications company. We help businesses to communicate authentically how they deliver value to inspire, engage and influence their important stakeholders. We believe that inspiring strategic communications can spark positive change and drive long-term, sustainable performance. We want to work with companies who want to build better businesses through better communications.