The University, which consists of 18-self-governing Colleges and nine specialist research institutes, swapped the traditional pdf reporting format with a series of updates on Twitter, along with an interactive presentation delivered through online tool Prezi. (Scroll down to see the tweet updates as they happened).

The tweets were published by the University’s sustainability team yesterday afternoon (18 January) via the @LondonEnviro twitter account, using the hashtag #UoLCarbonCut.

Each tweet included an image summarising one of the University’s key sustainability achievements in 2016, ranging from a 40% reduction in carbon emissions off a 2010 baseline; 100% of the University’s electricity coming from renewable sources; and the successful role out of a behaviour change project which encourages students to lead more sustainability lifestyles.

The full report was then made available via the Prezi website, which allows readers to zoom in and out of different aspects of the University’s sustainability progress, as a way of bringing the document to life.

The University of London’s head of sustainability John Bailey said: “The main aim of releasing the report on twitter was to spread the good news as far and wide as possible, showing a global audience that it is possible to make dramatic cuts to carbon and inspire other organisations to follow suit.

“We’re totally open about our aim to be a world-leader in sustainability within the higher education sector, so we believe that the best way for us to inspire change is to allow people to see both our success and failures and learn from our experiences.”

Reporting revolution

The University’s tweet-based approach to sustainability reporting follows a number of other companies that are increasingly looking beyond traditional methods of disclosure to drive stakeholder engagement with their CSR reports.

Drinks giant Heineken USA enlisted Detroit-based musician Kevin ‘Blaxtar’ de Randamie to create a rap video to accompany the 2015 instalment of its sustainability report, and then in 2016 the brewer took a gamification approach, requiring readers to navigate a variety of games and levels in order to uncover the progress that Heineken USA had made in key environmental areas.

Meanwhile, telecoms firm Virgin Media, which was one of the first businesses to stop producing hard-copy versions of its reports in 2010, last year used an immersive, virtual-reality-based video to accompany various other videos, infographics, and social media promotions of its CSR report.

Luke Nicholls

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