Helping Southwest engage investors through integrated ESG reporting

Southwest Airlines

Through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel, Southwest Airlines is on a mission to connect people to what's important in their lives.

Over the years, the company has prioritized environmental, social, and governance (ESG) in everything it does. That’s why despite the challenges that COVID-19 posed to the airline industry, Southwest Airlines was able to remain committed to improvement in its three core areas of People, Performance, and Planet. The airline maintained its place as #1 Carrier in Customer Satisfaction, continued to invest millions of dollars in fuel efficiency improvements, and evolved its hiring and development practices to align with newly created diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives. 

The challenge

When we began working with the company in 2013, it was evident that ESG issues were becoming increasingly important to Southwest’s stakeholders, and of primary concern to investors and employees. Over the years, we sought to help the company find new ways to connect with audiences about material sustainability issues through report design, video creation, and refining the One Report website, among other tactics.

Our solution

Through many years of ongoing creative partnership and collaboration, thinkPARALLAX has helped Southwest Airlines reinforce its position as a leader in the airline industry by showing how the company’s values — including integrity, teamwork, and excellence — translated into attention to ESG issues.

Ultimately, we shifted the focus of the One Report from what the airline was doing in terms of ESG efforts to why it matters. The information we gathered from a cross-section of employees, volunteers, partner organizations and suppliers allowed us to develop a solution to simplify content from previous reports and focus our creative energy on telling the compelling stories behind the numbers. We also challenged the company to rethink its overarching communications strategy, previously informed by the One Report at the center, and embrace a more forward-looking approach.

Our team delivered a dedicated One Report microsite, including a series of animated videos, infographics, and an interactive PDF report with a custom report-builder tool. Equally important, we helped shift the internal mindset on ESG communications to realize an audience-focused, integrated strategy that makes a clear connection between sustainability goals and overall business objectives.

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Key outcomes

Developed an ESG brand respected by investors and other stakeholders

Helped the client report ESG information alongside financials

Created a strong and singular narrative salient with investors, customers, and other key audiences

The thinkPARALLAX team was instrumental in evolving our One Report to where it is today: an interactive, integrated report that showcases our sustainability goals, business objectives, and progress against ESG issues through beautiful design and targeted communications. I am proud to have them as a partner in Southwest’s ESG journey, and to call them my friends.

Todd Spinks
Citizenship Communications & Outreach, Southwest Airlines