The Value of Storytelling - A blog by Ashley Jablow

The Value of Storytelling - A blog by Ashley Jablow

Ashley Jablow is a 2nd year MBA student, former nonprofit Fundraiser and Corporate Philanthropy Intern, and a motivated Changemaker.


The 3BL Media blog roll is a select list of the most influential, respected, and authoritative voices in corporate social responsibility. Compiled from the 3BL Media staff’s extensive contacts with longtime CSR commentators, these bloggers offer relevant news, opinions, and ideas about all things CSR in one convenient place.    

Monday, February 1, 2010 - 9:09pm


Four MBA classmates and I are sitting in a large, somewhat imposing corporate conference room at one of the world’s largest chemical and gas manufacturers.

In front of us sit 12 Director and C-level executives from our client company, and they’ve come here specifically to hear what we think – as MBA students, as potential employees and investors, and as concerned citizens – about their current sustainability reporting materials.

After four months of intensive learning about best practices in CSR reporting – as well as doing a deep dive into this company’s business and industry – we developed a set of recommendations that really centered around the following:

A successful CSR report doesn’t just tell impact – it tells stories.

Granted this is an oversimplification, but not by much! From what we could gather, it’s clear that this company is committed to not only reducing its own carbon footprint but also that of its customers. When it comes to being an environmental steward and good corporate citizen, this company is doing lots of things right.

Yet, all of this great work had been lost on us initially as readers; in fact, it wasn’t until just days before our presentation that we realized how stellar this company really was.

How could this have happened? How, after hours and days spent poring over their sustainability documents, could we have possibly missed the point?

It comes down to communication. While this company was obviously successful in its sustainability efforts, it had done so little to communicate its story that we’d almost missed it entirely.

With that we presented a number of recommendations on how to present content and provide context in ways that are engaging, interactive and customized for stakeholders.

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