Let’s get straight to the point. Communicating sustainability is important but difficult. Important because customers (B2B), consumers (B2C), investors and employees increasingly choose companies and organisations with a strong Environmental-Social-Governance (ESG) profile. Difficult because the outside world often greets green messages with scepticism. It’s, therefore, essential not to greenwash, but it is vital to communicate sustainability.
That is why communicating sustainability is becoming increasingly important to top managers in all types of companies. Financial accounts can no longer stand alone. Creating profit without focusing on sustainability is a no-go and is a new reality that companies and organisations must grow accustomed to.
At Publicity, we look at sustainability through the ESG lens and do not believe Environment is more important than Social and Governance. It depends entirely on the specific company or organisation, meaning that communicating sustainability is relevant to all businesses regardless of size, industry and concept.
Half of Publicity’s total activities centre around sustainability. We work for some of Denmark’s largest CO2 emitters, ones which had their License to Operate jeopardised by a shift in sustainability focus. Therefore, communicating sustainability plays a decisive role.
On the other end of the scale, we also work for some of Denmark’s greenest companies and organisations, where the green transition constitutes their entire basis for existence.
Here, we help ensure our customers get the talk time they deserve, which applies to traditional, digital, and social media and direct communication with stakeholders. This approach to communicating sustainability also helps safeguard against greenwashing. You must be able to be on target for what you communicate.
It is our clear recommendation that all companies and organisations initiate a separate ESG communication track. For most companies, this track will be the basis of their existence in the short or long term.
Publicity has extensive experience in launching new or strengthening existing sustainability communication channels:
We follow this process:
1. Identifying and mapping ESG initiatives
2. Developing a green transition roadmap
3. Mapping stakeholder groupings
4. Preparing basic strategic narrative and tactical sustainability messages
5. Preparing a communication plan
6. Execution and ongoing adaption
At Publicity, the communication of sustainability is storytelling from reality. Our primary mission is to create an ideal balance between what our clients do or plan to do in the ESG area and what they say. Neither more nor less.
Our experience here is initiating communications quickly and not fearing the greenwashing spectre when communicating what we do or intend to do.
For example, we can base communications about sustainability on the following:
- Concrete measures that promote the company’s sustainability now
- Concrete goals and visions for the company’s long-term sustainability
- Concrete profiles within the company that work with sustainability
As the focus on sustainability increases, people begin paying more attention to greenwashing and whether initiatives are presented as far greener than they actually are. It is, therefore, essential to communicate green efforts clearly and precisely, especially when greenwashing can threaten a company’s credibility and, ultimately, result in fines for misleading marketing.
Here are three crucial tips to avoid greenwashing:
1. Be specific about goals and efforts and document claims
2. Get certified by an independent third-party
3. Be honest and balanced without platitudes or exaggerations