AT&T Brings Interactivity To Sustainability

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Finding and digesting information about corporate sustainability can be a difficult and trying task. Often consumers have wade through the deep recesses of a Web site or sift through dry reports. This year, for its annual sustainability report, AT&T is adding interactivity to make the going a little easier. 

“It is for consumers, but it’s not just for our customers. It’s also for employees and potential employees. We wanted to have an engaging way of talking about what we do,” Beth Shiroishi, VP of sustainability and philanthropy at AT&T, tells Marketing Daily. “We wanted to offer a compelling way to put forth the data and story of what we do. And we wanted to show how it connects to the communities in which we work.”

The key element of the effort is an interactive Web site that enables visitors to explore a “city” that is populated with narratives showcasing the ways people are using the company’s products and services to work more sustainably, as well as inspiring the philanthropic and volunteer work the company is doing. 

While the company’s previous sustainability reports had followed a traditional print narrative structure, looking more like an annual report, the growing prevalence of people searching for and receiving information online prompted AT&T to revamp the way it presented its philanthropic and sustainability programs. 

“This year, we totally broke form that mold; you can’t really even print it,” Shiroishi says. “In the broad realm of sustainability reports, [everyone has] branched out with a Web presence. But this is a way make it more robust and have more of it online.”

The initiatives highlighted include partnerships with Bloom Energy to create clean energy and cell phone recycling initiatives in the company’s retail stores. An entire section is dedicated to AT&T’s Aspire program, which is working to reduce high school dropout rates across the U.S. At certain points through the Web site, users are prompted to answer questions about the report. Each answer gives users the ability to direct donations to AT&T-designated charities. 

“Each audience has a different angle they’re looking at. Our shareholders are looking for the financial implications. A consumer may be looking for [device recycling]. All of those audiences have potentially different angles,” Shiroishi says. “We wanted to tell the story in a way that would give them the ability to pick and choose between them.” 

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