Communicating Sustainable Practices
Each year, we celebrate World Environment Day on June 5. While this event is the United Nations’ day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment, it’s important for sustainability to be a year-round focus for organizations. In the last 10 years, there has been an increased focus on the benefits of corporate sustainability and the strategies businesses are putting in place to improve environmental responsibility.
But corporate sustainability is about more than the health of the planet. True corporate sustainability creates long-term stakeholder value through the implementation of a business strategy that positively impacts the ethical, social, economic and environmental dimensions of a business. While there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to implementing a sustainability strategy, it’s important that businesses effectively communicate the steps they’re taking to achieve their sustainability goals.
Consider the following best practices:
- Develop and publish a sustainability plan: Going public with your sustainability plans shows your company is truly dedicated to setting and achieving goals. Whether you’re committed to reducing energy consumption or water usage, you should publish your goals on your website. Some companies dedicate a section of their annual corporate social responsibility report to discuss specific environmental efforts while others have a separate for communicating their mission and progress. Make your goals specific, like cutting carbon emissions by 25% within five years or committing to sponsor five philanthropic events per year for a like-minded sustainability nonprofit organization.
- Be transparent about your environmental impact: Many consumers research companies before investing in products, services and causes. Having an “open door policy” in the way you communicate with all key stakeholders is critical. For example, Google and Microsoft submit environmental data through GRI Standards, which are the first global standards for sustainability reporting. Additionally, Apple and Microsoft issue report cards for select products.
- Offer best practices to employees: Your sustainability efforts can have an even greater impact if you show employees how they can contribute. Offer best practices that employees can perform at home and in the workplace. Examples include: planting trees and flowers that support bee colonies, shopping locally, avoiding single-use plastics and printing fewer documents. Distribute this information via company e-newsletters, monitors in lobbies and cafeterias and via intranets.
- Follow through on sustainability plans: Businesses must realize that environmental stewardship requires effort and action, and more than just claims. “Greenwashing,” which has become more widespread over the years, has made it increasingly difficult for consumers to trust that companies are communicating truthfully. It’s important to not only communicate the steps you’re taking to be greener, but to also follow through with them.
Your commitment to sustainability needs to be embedded into every level of your business in order to be successful. The main motivation behind making positive strides for the environment should not be to position your company in a better light. However, it is important for organizations to share with stakeholders how they are making a difference. Continue to communicate both internally and externally the steps that your company is taking to achieve its sustainability goals. By following the above tips, you can effectively showcase how your business is limiting its environmental impact, which not only has a positive impact on the planet but drives your business to be better.
Don’t let sustainability be an afterthought for your B2B brand. Reach out to Mulberry to learn how you can leverage your sustainability initiatives to build stronger relationships with customers and convert leads.
Jessie Koerner is a Senior Account Executive in Mulberry’s Chicago office with a deep passion for media relations and content creation for numerous B2B clients.