AB InBev : Clear CSR reporting

A brewing giant is unusually clear in explaining its approach to corporate social responsibility reporting.

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The feature

‘Reporting at AB InBev’ is a page within the 2015 Global Citizenship Report section on the Belgium-headquartered brewer’s corporate website. It explains exactly what readers will find in the report – ‘annual update on key performance data… and specific targets in our Better World Plan’; and for whom the report is intended: ‘to provide meaningful updates to stakeholders around the world, including investors, employees, governments, NGOs, and customers and consumers in the 26 countries where we operate’.

The page goes on to explain details that CSR professionals and other stakeholders will find valuable - the reporting standard used (Global Reporting Initiative’s G4 ‘Core’ level), how it verified the data and stories, and how reporting via the website and PDF complement each other.

The takeaway

‘Reporting at AB InBev’ stands out for its straightforward organization and clear language. The structure follows the ‘inverted pyramid’ of effective journalistic writing – putting the most important information at the top and increasing amounts of detail below. It is a simple technique (but which takes effort to get right) and is often neglected on corporate websites.

The page is also unusual in explaining how the website and PDF work together – ‘the PDF document primarily summarizes our 2015 activities… while the website provides further information on our Better World strategy and ongoing activities, and offers in depth exploration of key data and metrics’.

There could be a website shake-up in the near future, given that the merger with SABMiller is about to be completed, but AB InBev’s current approach to explaining its CSR efforts could be useful model for explaining any complex topic online in a coherent, straightforward way.

First published 21 September, 2016
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