HBR: Companies need to improve sustainability communications

HBR: Companies need to improve sustainability communications

In their Harvard Business Review article, The Sustainability Imperative, David A. Lubin and Daniel C. Esty say that companies need to get better at communicating sustainability. In the article, the authors identify sustainability as an emerging megatrend, similar to quality in the 1970's and IT in the 1980's.

In order for companies to gain advantage from this megatrend, they need to execute in five critical areas, one of which is reporting and communication. They write:

We see substantial room for improved sustainability communications, particularly among companies with a strong commitment to lead in this arena. Our firm has conducted evaluations of dozens of companies along 35 dimensions of sustainability management. When the assessments were based only on publicly available information and a company's external reporting, we got scores that were almost always lower, and often significantly so, than scores developed in consultation with the company and with full inside information.

In other words, companies aren't getting enough credit for their sustainability work because they aren't being effective communicators. The authors point to the sustainability reports of Timberland as an example of what they expect to be commonplace in the future.

The need for companies to improve green communications is a big reason why I started this blog. I knew it was an area that I needed to improve and I quickly saw that others needed it as well. My hope is that the interactions that start here, can help drive that improvement. What do you think companies need to do to better communicate their sustainability?


Nathan Schock's personal blog, Greenway Communique,  is the primary hub for communicating sustainability and bringing people together who do the same.