Sustainability reports have grown more popular in recent years. Some organizations have even embraced the idea of “integrated reporting,” with sustainability information included in the more common financial annual report. Few industries, though, have assessed sustainability across the organizations that comprise them, making the American Cleaning Institute’s most recent Sustainability Report remarkable—and a winner in the “Best Publication” category of Ragan’s 2016 Nonprofit PR Awards
The American Cleaning Institute commissioned a materiality assessment that identified and characterized the issues most germane to the ACI’s membership and the greater industry, such as climate change, greenhouse gases, water and waste. The report also continued its practice of providing an annual snapshot of the progress its members have made toward sustainable development, with 33 member organizations contributing data.
The document is even more remarkable in its accessibility. Far from a dry presentation, the publication—available in both print and online versions—rivals the most compelling and readable of corporate publications. Graphics are employed brilliantly, white space is used effectively, as are colors, and charts and graphs enhance the crisply written content. In addition to numbers, the report showcases stories of humanitarian success (such as the donation by the organization and its members to support efforts to provide free home cleanings to women with cancer).
The report attracted the attention of the media, earning coverage in nearly 20 publications that resulted in 25 million impressions. General consumer awareness was lifted by coverage in Forbes magazine, while industry outlets like Greenbiz.com and Sustainable Brands also reported on the report.
Brian Sansoni, vice president, sustainability initiatives, and Melissa Grande, senior manager, sustainability initiatives, have delivered a readable report that rises far above comparable efforts. Congratulations to them for their work.