14 Jun How to write an impact page for your ethical business website
An impact page is the perfect way to showcase the positive work your ethical business is doing.
Your impact page is an opportunity to celebrate your wins, showcase the facts and figures behind your positive impact, and tell some of the stories from your beneficiaries too.
93% of the world’s largest 250 companies now publish annual CSR reports to showcase how they’re having a positive impact.
As consumer demand for ethical and sustainable products increases, ethically-minded customers will be looking for evidence to back up your credentials – and an impact page is the perfect way to show them how genuine you are.
Plus, a well crafted impact page can be the catalyst for new collaborations, recognition from the press (who will appreciate being able to find all the information easily in one place) and will impress potential customers too.
At Ethical Hour, our impact page explains our ethos and tracks the impact we’re making for good causes in real time, thanks to our partnership with B1G1.
We recently received this positive feedback from our partners at B1G1, which shows how an impact page can extend your business reach:
“It is one of the TOP, favourite impact pages I’ve ever seen. It’s inspiring, comprehensive, well articulated and just a beautiful examples that I’m going to be using to share on my many calls with businesses looking for some inspiration.”
Preparing the information for your impact page might feel like another task on an ever-growing to do list, but it’s actually helpful to have all this information in one place – especially if you want to apply for awards, encourage journalists to tell your story, or share information about your impact on social media.
Your impact page is like an extension of your website’s about page – it’s designed to strengthen your brand and tell your story in a way that attracts like-minded customers.
So, how do you write the perfect impact page?
In this post I’m going to share with you some tips, advice and case studies to help you create an impact page which showcases your credibility, shares the inspiring stories behind your impact and captures hearts and minds for your cause.
Overview of Impact Pages
If you want to position yourself as an ethical and sustainable business, you need to publish an impact page.
This is a dedicated page on your website where your visitors learn more about what you do, how you give back and the positive impact you’re making through your work and partnerships.
TOMS Shoes ‘How We Give’ page gives some impressive figures about the number of lives they’ve improved:
Mattress brand Leesa, who donate mattresses to non-profits for every product sold, use their impact page to showcase the ways they give back, share the figures behind their impact, and include photos, videos and testimonials from people they’ve helped.
Much like an impact report, your impact page should communicate the difference you’re making in the world and the progress you’re making against this vision.
This is useful information to share with customers, collaborators, supporters and stakeholders – and it can help build trust as part of your marketing efforts too.
Many small ethical businesses struggle to measure the impact they’re having, or avoid doing it because they think that impact reporting is a complicated process. It doesn’t have to be.
Even if impact reporting isn’t a legal requirement for your business – it’s a good way to monitor whether you’re on track to create the change you’ve set out to make in the world.
The key elements of a successful impact page
If you’ve created an impact report before, you can use the contents to create your impact page – but if you’ve never measured your impact until now, then this is a great time to start!
Here are some of the key pieces of information you may wish to include:
Why does your business exist?
As an impact entrepreneur, you started your business because you noticed a problem. You’ve built your ethical business to create a change.
Start your impact page by telling your visitors what that problem is.
Try to keep it positive – if we focus too much on the negatives we risk triggering our reader’s fight or flight response – so they either ignore your message or feel resistant to it.
We don’t want to overwhelm them with guilt, shame or problems. Instead, use storytelling to paint a picture of a better world – the world your business is trying to create.
If you were inspired to start your business because you experienced or witnessed this problem firsthand, you might even want to include personal anecdotes or photographs to build a stronger connection with your visitors.
Cuddle & Kind, who give 10 meals to children for every handmade doll they sell, illustrate the problem they solve through infographics, and use their personal story as a family to show why this cause is so important to them:
How are you creating change?
Ethical businesses create change in different ways:
By giving back
You might have aligned with good causes to give a percentage of your sales revenue or profit away.
If that’s the case, you’ll want to share information about the organisations you’ve partnered with and why. This is a great opportunity to build a connection with your visitors by showing them that you care about the same causes they support.
Through ethical and sustainable practices
Perhaps you’re keeping your carbon footprint low by choosing a renewable energy hosting provider for your website, going paperless or building an ethical supply chain under Fair Trade principles.
Maybe you’ve gone the extra mile to work with ethical suppliers, embed your values in your operations and uphold the high standards your conscious customers expect. This is a good opportunity to tell them about the decisions you’ve made and why.
What frameworks do you follow?
Are you a registered social enterprise or B Corp?
Are your products Fair Trade certified?
Do you only use GOTS cotton, organic ingredients, or have you got the Leaping Bunny logo?
There are many different credentials you can apply for as an ethical and sustainable business, depending on the products or services you provide, which give external validation to your claims. Your impact page is a great place to showcase these!
Lush do this through a series of symbols, making their credentials easy to grasp at a glance:
You might also align to existing frameworks for measuring your impact – such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) form part of a 15 year agenda led by the United Nations to tackle the biggest global problems through collaboration between governments, the private sector, civil society and individual action.
There are 17 goals in total, with 169 targets and a range of indicators used to measure progress towards each goal.
Many impact businesses use the SDGs as a framework to measure their impact.
At Ethical Hour, we’ve outlined the SDGs that are most important to us, alongside the impacts we’ve made and the targets we’ve set to help achieve these goals:
Your impact page is also a good place to share any awards, press coverage or external validation you may have received for your positive impact.
For example, at Ethical Hour we were recently awarded a 4 star rating from Support The Goals, which puts us in the top 4% of businesses for our commitment, plans, actions and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
This includes companies from the FTSE100 and FTSE250!
This is the type of powerful external validation that works well on your impact page.
What evidence can you share?
Your impact page is the place to share facts and figures.
Vagueness is one of the warning signs of greenwashing, so the more specific you can be about your impact, the better – even if your numbers are small to start with!
Highlight the headline figures you want to share – like the number of trees you’ve planted, people you’ve trained or other impacts you’ve made.
Sustainable accessories start-up From Belo use recycled materials in their designs and donate meals to women in need in Brazil.
They communicate their headline figures on their home page, including the number of plastic bottles and seatbelts they’ve recycled and the exact number of meals they’ve donated:
Wonky veg box company Oddbox are fighting food waste. They’ve made their impact easier to visualise with some comparisons – like explaining that the 523,070 kgs of fresh produce they’ve saved is the equivalent of 42 double-decker buses!
Are there stories you can tell?
Images of your impact in action can bring your data to life.
Do you have photos or videos of you giving back?
Perhaps your partner organisations have shared good news stories you can feature (with their permission) – or maybe you can collect testimonials from your beneficiaries to show how you’ve helped.
Impact isn’t just a numbers game – every time you give back you make a difference to someone’s life. Sharing that story can build a powerful emotional connection with your website visitors and encourage them to support you.
What will you do next?
It’s impossible to be completely ethical and sustainable, so don’t feel ashamed to share some of your limitations too. Your customers will appreciate your honesty and it will help to build trust.
You can share your targets, goals and aspirations and show them how you plan to make more impact in the future. If you make it inspiring, it will encourage them to support you and help make it happen!
Not only have social enterprise Toast Ale been clear about the positive impact they’ve already made…
But they’ve also been open and honest about their current profitability, and ambitions to extend their charitable contributions in the future – with specific figures and targets.
“As a start-up, we are not yet profitable, but we have committed 1% of revenues to charity as a minimum. In 2019 we donated over £15,000. We forecast to return our first profits in 2020.”
How to create your impact page
There are many different ways to communicate your positive impact – and there’s no right or wrong way to create an impact page on your website.
The best story you can tell is one the genuinely comes from the heart and shows how much you care, with evidence to back up your claims and build trust with your visitors.
Don’t forget to keep your impact page up to date too!
Set a reminder in your diary to revisit your impact figures every month or every quarter, and to update the information on your website at the same time.
And once you’ve got your impact page, don’t forget to share it! Put it on your social media, use the stories you’ve pulled together to inspire content for your newsletter. Drive traffic to your impact page to make it work harder for you.
You could even link to it in your email footer!
At the bottom of my emails I share my impact target and direct traffic to my impact page: