One year ago, the prestigious Wall Street Journal published an article on how “companies find ways to keep their annual reports from being a bore”. The digital annual report of Covestro, one of the world’s largest polymer companies, was shown as a best-practice example. Instead of producing a text-heavy printed report, Covestro is now fully focusing on the digital channels: The annual report 2020 is the first report in the company’s history, which is entirely published in a digital format and no longer printed.
Key visual reflects circular ambition
The focus of the digital annual report fits the company and its philosophy. Covestro is a young, dynamic and above all innovative company in the German DAX 30. Not only in terms of reporting is Covestro ahead of its industry: An ambitious strategic goal of the company is to embed circular economic principles into the fabric of their operations to act as a trailblazer for the entire plastics industry. This transition to a circular economy is also the guiding theme of the new annual report, titled: “One circular vision”. It explains how Covestro further plans to become a driving force in this change.
This year’s annual report is based on sketched and colourful circles as its key visual. These circles are not perfectly round or fully closed, representing the current status of the circular vision and Covestro’s ambition to close the circle in the future.
The circular mission is delivered in a colourful and interactive way in the annual report. The magazine part is structured into three main parts: Collaborate, Accelerate and Innovate. These stories make their appearance with scrolling effects, videos and animated elements. Following the gamification principle, users are involved in the process of storytelling, e.g. with interactive quiz questions.
Compared to most annual reports, Covestro is also using modern ways to present the board members and their key messages. Short video statements underline the overall impression of a dynamic and innovative company with a hands-on mentality. Each board member is answering one question on their specific responsibility in the personal statements: The CEO on strategy, the CFO on financials and the CCO on digital customer experience.
Potentials of digital reporting
Covestro is making use of many of today’s potentials in digital reporting. Because the annual report contains a lot of information on various topics, the digital report offers, for example, a tag manager function, which serves as an additional navigation tool. This feature allows users to filter the report by specific tags (eg. “strategy” or “sustainability”).
Covestro is also using statistics to track how often the online report was visited, how many pages were visited as well as which specific chapters and pages were visited. A new stakeholder micro survey also shows, which stakeholder groups (e.g. “investors” or “journalists”) are using the digital report. These information help to further optimise the report.
Additionally, the reporting journey does not end with the publication of the digital report. As soon as the last report was published, Covestro started to use its social media channel to promote the report. Social media and other digital channels as a result offer a variety of additional possibilities to attract the attention of stakeholders for reporting content.
Read more on digital report communication: Push Reporting