International Airlines Group : Overlooking sustainability in the investment case

An airline group misses an opportunity to promote its sustainability credentials to investors

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The feature

International Airline Group (IAG) gives unusually high prominence to its investment case on its corporate website

The home page has a main panel titled ‘A unique value proposition’, a brief standfirst, and a link to the company’s investment case page. The page stands alone in the site hierarchy and it is the first item in the primary navigation menu.

The home page has a link to the Sustainability section, but the investment case does not link to the Sustainability section, or mention the topic at all as a reason to invest. However, the Sustainability section claims that ‘Environmental viability is fundamental to our long-term growth and our investors, regulators, customers and employees expect progressive and responsible business practices.’


The takeaway

IAG’s clear and prominent investment case section is likely to be useful for investors and analysts, and demonstrates the importance the company places on the website as a primary tool for investor communications.

However, the ‘Our investment case’ section misses an opportunity to promote the company’s sustainability record, especially since the company itself sees this record as an important aspect of its investment proposition.

Investors and analysts must visit IAG’s ‘Sustainability’ section to find out about the social and environmental components of the company’s business strategy. Bowen Craggs’ corporate website visitor research suggests that some member of these audiences groups will visit such sections, but many more are likely to miss key sustainability messages if they are not summarised or promoted in the investor relations section.

A wider point is that even if sustainability is not an explicit element of your company’s investment proposition at the moment, there is a case to be made that it should be.

We are seeing more companies making greater use of their corporate web presence, often including the investor relations section, to provide a broader and deeper view of the organization’s goals beyond the pure pursuit of ‘shareholder value’. 

‘Explaining your purpose’ is the central theme of the Bowen Craggs conference 2020, to be held in June in Brussels. Phil Fitz-Gerald, Director of the UK Financial Reporting Council’s Lab, will be speaking about the non-financial reporting that many audiences – including investors – now expect, and the ways companies are talking about more than just financial numbers in their reports.
First published 26 February, 2020
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