Sustainability: sharing your going green story

Effective communication is crucial for organisations that are striving for sustainability and championing the reduction of carbon emissions. By successfully telling your green story your business will be able to engage and inspire your team, suppliers, customers and partners, and encourage the different stakeholders to take the required actions towards sustainability.

In our last blog we looked at how to make sure you don’t fall foul to the greenwashing cycle, and in this article we’re focusing on how organisations can champion sustainability in their communications with tips on how to successfully talk about your green initiatives. Read on for a a guide to effective sustainability communications.

#1 The inside out approach (engaging your workforce)

It’s easy to fall into the trap of communicating with customers before making sure your employees are onboard. Inspiring and informing your employees is always critical to getting the desired traction on your efforts, no matter what the business goals are. Make sure you’re not just sharing your long-term carbon reduction goals and green product roadmaps, but that you’re also making climate change and sustainability meaningful for your team. Engage and inspire employees in your aspirations by bringing to life the everyday changes they can make at work and in their home lives.

You can do this through fun and engaging activities, such as:

  • surveying or holding listening forums to gauge commitment to sustainability
  • identifying sustainability champions and ambassadors
  • rewarding best practice by running competitions with environmentally friendly prizes
  • holding focus days or introducing education programmes

However, you do it, get the conversation going in your organisation and take steps to keep your employees on the same journey, or you may find your goals miss the mark.

#2 Position your organization (have an opinion)

It can feel like a scary territory for many large companies, but it’s important to set out your stall on what you’re doing and your committed actions, but also more broadly on the direction you believe your industry should be heading. This can be controversial but it’s important that we talk not only about what is possible right now, but also what we all collectively could be endeavouring to achieve.

It maybe that there isn’t a solution for a critical part of your product or service right now, for example maybe you need a shift to cleaner electric aviation in order to become net-zero, but this is the time and place to be bold and say what’s required within your industry. This can encourage and inspire the communities around you to start their own green story, allowing you to partner together to innovate and overcome obstacles for the good of everyone and the planet.

#3 State your policies (express your opinion transparently)

To avoid any confusion between long-term goals and aspirations and actions being taken today, make your policies clear and accessible. Shunning confusing jargon and ensuring your policies are published online are both great ways of keeping your intentions transparent.

#4 Set goals and measure your performance (get better)

It’s important to acknowledge we can’t reverse the actions of decades of poor decisions and policies overnight, and that new damage is still being done every day. However it’s equally important to keep all your stakeholders informed of the progress you are making so you can demonstrate the improvements. Even if you’re not always on track, keep reporting and publishing your progress, both internally and externally – honesty will always be the best policy.

#5 Engage your whole community (employees, suppliers and customers)

Just as the story goes, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, it’ll take your community of suppliers, team and customers to reduce your carbon emissions. Make sure you’re not only bringing your employees and customers on your journey, but that you’re engaging your supply chain as well. Simple virtual sessions to discuss progress, challenges, obstacles and share innovations with suppliers will help grow commitment and increase the creativity of solutions.

#6 Be loud and proud (without costing the earth)

Organisations usually have lots of overlooked channels that can be used to promote key messages, from office buildings and vans, packaging and uniform, to email footers and LinkedIn profiles. Unlike sales campaigns that change frequently, your commitment to sustainability should be long-term, so there’s no excuse for not sharing your green story and goals in these core places.

#7 Moments that matter

There are plenty of awareness and celebration days throughout the year that can help you focus your sustainability communications efforts. From Earth Day to International Clean Air Day, there are lots of great opportunities to raise the profile of your green activities both internally and externally, and to support climate change organisations and charities.

If you think your organisation could be doing more to raise the profile of your sustainability activity but aren’t sure where to start, talk to us.