The Background and Challenge
Siberian Coal Energy Company (SUEK) is Russia’s largest coal company and one of the top-10 coal producers in the world in terms of production, sales and reserves. The company operates in eight regions of Russia, where hard and brown coals are mined, and serves customers in over 40 countries.
2017 was proclaimed the ‘Year of Environment’ in Russia. Coal industry in general, and SUEK in particular, have seen increased requirements for disclosures related to sustainability issues from state regulators and the investment community, so the Annual Report 2017 was created to satisfy the scrutiny of all of its target audiences towards environmental and social issues.The key challenge was to ‘change perceptions’ of readers about coal and to promote a broader agenda of global energy security and development. Building on the previous year’s inaugural and successful integrated report, the 2017 report had to continue integrating the sustainability narrative throughout, demonstrating the company’s commitment and take it to the next level.
Black Sun’s approach to the report aimed to support and demonstrate that SUEK recognises its environmental impact and at the same time to remind all relevant stakeholders of the role of coal in the modern world. The report focuses on the importance of coal as one of the major power sources that is often overlooked and appeals to change common perceptions.
The theme 'Changing perceptions' calls up to readers to think over what they consider wrong or right and take into account all consequences of their decisions, both environmental and social.
The following messages had to come through in the report:
- Coal will continue to be prominent in the world’s energy supply for another several decades and is needed to help bring electricity to those who need it most, particularly in developing economies
- Coal is an affordable, reliable and accessible source of energy critical to sustainable economic development
- Social impact from the sector can minimise the environmental footprint, as SUEK uses modern coal production and transportation technologies that enable it to minimise negative environmental impact
- “Coal can make a meaningful contribution to a sustainable future, and we need to shift perceptions and awareness of coal’s potential”
The front cover of the report used a holographic application to further support the theme of changing perceptions between ‘black’ and ‘white’. To unfold the ‘Changing perceptions’ theme, four case studies were introduced as a feature section in the beginning of the report. Each case study links to relevant sections of the report, where the theme is uncovered in greater detail, and relevance to the Sustainability Development Goals. The story is further supported through a series of editorially designed mini-interviews with industry and opinion leaders whose commentary lend credibility to the ‘case for coal’.
To demonstrate that SUEK’s business model is sustainable in current realities and how it allows to turn threats to opportunities, a SWOT analysis was introduced in the ‘Global trends and SUEK’ section. The business model was expanded to better explain SUEK’s value creation for its stakeholders, supported by figures, and introduces differentiators for each of the stages of value chain.
The 2017 report is improved in the core sections and communicates to SUEK’s stakeholders in an engaging way with supportive editorial-style interviews. The report was produced in both English and Russian, in print and online, to ensure SUEK communicates consistently to all stakeholders, domestically as well as globally.
Both leadership statements demonstrate the company’s commitment to sustainability by featuring its approach to sustainability and new environmental strategy. Overall, the report demonstrates SUEK’s commitment to sustainable development in all areas of their performance – social and environmental, operational and financial – and to value creation for all stakeholders.