Fortune Brands • 2021 ESG Report
Committed to Continuous ESG Reporting Improvement
Fortune Brands continuously improves its ESG reporting to provide comprehensive, meaningful data on the ESG areas that matter most to its business and stakeholders.
Creating a high-quality ESG report builds trust with all stakeholders. A company’s commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues demonstrates its understanding of how these issues affect its ability to create long-term value. By investing in employees and building a positive culture, a company can show its dedication to these issues and its commitment to creating value for all stakeholders.
In consumers’ minds, a company’s ESG business practices are closely linked to brand trust.
From a recent report by PWC, younger consumers are even more committed to ESG, with 83% of millennials seeking out environmentally and socially responsible retailers (vs. 76% for all consumers). Meanwhile, diversity, equity and Inclusion are of particular importance to 80% of consumers ages 39 and younger (vs. 72% for all consumers).
Fortune Brands Home & Security (FBHS), a consumer products company, is not necessarily a household name, but many of its brands such as Moen, Master Lock, Therma-Tru, Fiberon, and its brand from MasterBrands Cabinets are widely known.
The company continuously improves its ESG reporting to provide comprehensive, meaningful data on the ESG areas that matter most to its business and stakeholders. Obata embraced the challenge of building on the successes of past reports while offering a fresh approach to design.
And this year (as in years past!), we couldn’t be prouder of the results.
What Our Clients Say
With Obata’s excellent design instincts, reporting expertise and collaborative style, we were able to create this report in record time. The design is terrific. Everyone who sees it thinks it’s beautiful, easy to navigate, and our best ESG Report to date.
Jen R. – Director of Communications
- Efficient (rapid/fast) and high-quality production: From receiving initial copy to design, proofreading and publishing, the report was completed in less than nine weeks. Thanks to Obata’s proactive and efficient design work and on-going engagement with the client, we were able to produce Fortune Brands’ 2021 report in record time, allowing Fortune Brands to share their ESG Report with stakeholders as soon as possible.
- Reported on two additional ESG frameworks indices. Previous Fortune Brands ESG Reports utilized the Global Reporting Index framework. This year, the report also aligns Fortune Brands’ ESG information with the two other leading sustainability frameworks, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Index, and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Index.
- Made it easier to gauge performance. In addition to Fortune Brands adding global data, Obata designed tables, charts, and graphs to help readers visualize and more easily understand the information. To summarize the ESG data contained within the report, we developed a consolidated Data Sheet. The FBHS ESG Reporting webpage offers an easy way for investors and analysts to download and evaluate the company’s performance.
Building off past successes:
- Published an interactive PDF report. Using a landscape format that functions similar to a website is easy to navigate and allows you to read without scrolling.
- Designed the report for the scanning reader. We used stats, charts, callouts, and infographics to break up text to make content easier to skim.
- Continued a partnership of collaborative problem-solving. By using a design-build process, FBHS could develop and refine content during the design process. We worked together to refine the design and content of the report, section by section, until it was all complete. It was a collaborative and iterative process of content creation and design refinement.
Honoring a milestone
2021 marked the 10th anniversary of FBHS as a publicly traded company. To celebrate, Obata developed its corporate anniversary commemorative logo in spring of 2021. The color palette of the anniversary logo uses both primary and secondary colors from the brand guidelines.
We created a consistent color scheme across various FBHS communication materials, such as the annual report and ESG report. You can read more about the anniversary logo here. Obata has also produced the company’s annual report since 2013.
Taking advantage of benefits inherent to PDFs
Fortune Brands publishes an ESG Report which contains more information about environmental, social, and governance issues than what would be typically included in an annual report. Their ESG Report is written for a wide range of stakeholders, including investors, raters, employees, customers, business partners, and suppliers.
With more information to disclose, the publication has grown in length since the inaugural ESG Report in 2018. Their first ESG report was 35 pages. The 2021 report is 82 pages.
Since the report is provided only as a PDF, we were not limited to containing the report to a certain length. This allowed the design more visual room to breathe, improving readability and enhancing the overall brand image.
The report uses a visually supportive design to help readers avoid becoming overwhelmed or lost amidst the data. We wanted to make sure our readers could easily find the information they were looking for, without getting confused. Our goal was to optimize for efficient, effective communication.
Clear report structure and navigation
Global interactive navigation and cross links are a basic requirement for an interactive PDF. Hyperlinks allow you to quickly jump to different sections of the report or to external websites and videos for more information. The report has a global navigation bar that allows readers to go directly to the content they’re interested in, no matter where they are in the report.
- The content of this 82-page report is extremely detailed — in the best way possible. It begins by clearly laying out Fortune Brands’ material topics and continues into comprehensive information on the company’s products, its environmental, social, and governance performance, and concludes with reporting frameworks.
- Each section of the report is identified within a color band at the top of the page for easy navigation.
- A new section, titled Company & Products, includes a more robust overview of FBHS and its products than in previous reports. The report is divided up into six sections: Introduction, Company & Products, Environmental, Social, Governance, and Resources & Indices.
Visual breathing space
Whitespace not only creates harmony and balance; it also leads readers from one element to another.
With concern over page count, it was tempting to pack pages “wall to wall”. However, this diminishes the understanding of the information and makes for a “one note” presentation. If less is not possible, it is important to allow room for the content to breathe.
The use of whitespace can help to balance out dense content, making it more dramatic and important. For example, we created visually spacious opener pages for each section of the report. The key topics are easier to understand and absorb when they are presented in a simplified way.
- Well-designed graphics are a more effective way to communicate key data points to readers than overwhelming them with statistics. Some examples of key data we conveyed visually include carbon emission goals, comparative industry safety metrics, and the composition of the Board of Directors. These graphics are seamlessly inserted within large blocks of text to break up the report.
- To supplement the text, we also added helpful “Did You Know” callouts and highlighted statistics..
Creating and selecting quality images
The quality of the report’s images says a great deal about FBHS. Prior to the start of this year’s report, Fortune Brands selected several of their manufacturing facilities, then hired independent photographers to photograph employees at the various locations.
We worked with Fortune Brands to outline and provide photo guidelines to ensure a consistency of style among the various photographers. This exercise provided the company with a bank of images to use across a number of corporate communications.
We edited and selected high-quality images. When high-quality photography wasn’t available, we created handsome visuals such as icons, infographics, and charts.
This all added the visual relief that dense documents need. It’s important to avoid tired visual clichés: such as the all-too-often-used “seedling in hands” image. These types of photos won’t add value or distinction to your report.
- Fortune Brands also uses thoughtfully placed case studies to illustrate its ESG programs in action. These case studies inject an element of warmth and human relatability that’s often missing from ESG reports.
- From a design standpoint, FBHS’s report is thoughtfully laid out. It uses a mix of informative charts, eye-catching graphics, and attractive photography to illustrate key points and keep readers engaged.
Aggregated data and progress
We made it easier for those interested in the data and details to find what they are looking for. Throughout the report, call out features highlighted key statistics, ongoing progress and peer comparisons. ESG resources and framework disclosures are kept together in the Resources and Framework Indices section, where they are scanned in one place.
- Fortune Brands provides a separate consolidated Data Sheet so data and performance is easily gauged in one document. Obata worked with the company to develop a MS Word template that can be updated periodically by them and posted to their website.
What Our Clients Say
Your team did an amazing job! We work on ESG all year round, and once we got started on creating the new report, we were excited to share it with our stakeholders as soon as possible. Thanks for being our ESG partner.
ESG content marketing
To leverage the benefit and immediacy of social media platforms, Obata developed ESG reporting social media templates designed to communicate ESG updates on a more frequent basis. Our goal is to keep content informational and not promotional. The same call to action links users to the ESG report to learn more. Sharing an ESG report in multiple ways, or touchpoints, enhances the level of readership and overall communications effectiveness for the brand.