The Three C’s of Sustainability Communications

The Three C’s of Sustainability Communications

Although business sustainability is not new, grasping sustainability concepts and its practical applications to a specific business is new to some business leaders.  It is not uncommon within our business sustainability consulting practice to be questioned for specific examples as to the value of business sustainability.  Pointing to industry leaders and leading companies is the easiest way to capture the attention of skeptical business owners. 

Fortunately, with the recent release of Interbrand’s Best Global Green Brands report and the Carbon Disclosure Project’s S&P 500 Climate Change Report, it’s easy to explain how sustainability can be a profit center.  

Yet, stakeholders, whether they be consumers, employees, or suppliers are often left questioning what business sustainability is to the organization.  As in, what does it mean? How does it deliver value? And, what does it mean to them. As a result, sustainability and CSR communications are gaining critical importance. Social media has an emerging role in knowledge sharing,management. and engagement.  How so?  It creates bridges between the corporate world and its stakeholders and closes the gap on knowledge management and business intelligence.  Specifically so if sustainable communications and performance is valued by your stakeholders.  The key question asked in our professional consulting and Tell Your Green Story workshop is, how to do this!   While there are several approaches and social media strategies, ideas to consider include: 

1. Campaigns

Campaigns are essential to engage key audiences and build relationships with consumers and increase stakeholder engagement. Marketing campaigns tend to encompass several different strategies, such as advertising, public relations and social media. By building an effective integrated campaign, companies can ensure that they are connecting with their key audiences.  Leveraging sustainability data in campaigns is a means of not only providing information, but also increasing stakeholder engagement around environment themed sustainability topics as in water, energy, and waste management.

2. Consistent Content

One simple secret to social media success is to post consistent content your audience loves.  For many, content curation can be challenging.  Who wants to know what?  Let your stakeholders be your guide.

  • Shareholders – Share knowledge that may affect company share price.
  • Partners – Share data that may impact investment dollars.
  • Employees – Share feedback on internal operations.
  • Customers – Share direct feedback on product quality and shifting market expectations.
  • Suppliers/Contractors –Share, engage, and collaborate on new material sources and process improvements.
  • Local Communities – Include continuous feedback on business impact on society.
  • Natural Environment – Share feedback from NGOs on business impact to physical surroundings.

3.  Connect

As consumers, employees, businesses, communities, and non government organizations increasingly question business actions on climate change, they want to see transparent, more credible information on the responsible actions companies are taking to address their social and environmental impacts.  Social media engagement offers the ability to connect, share, and engage on sustainability related issues with interested stakeholders to increase collaboration and drive value.

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