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Blog: Sustainability Communications

30 June 2021    


 

According to Blackrock, in 2020 around US$370 billion was invested globally into sustainable or ESG funds, that’s almost double that of the year before while a growing list of the world’s biggest brands made tangible, measurable commitments to reducing their carbon emissions.

From a communications perspective, what is interesting about this trend is the emphasis on public commitments and public reporting. Investors as well as retail and b2b customers now want to see evidence of a company’s Environmental, Social, and Governance performance. The value of a stock, the price of a product is still fundamental. But decision makers are now looking to engage with companies that can prove they are aligned with a set of ESG expectations which are becoming standardised.

Do you have a publicly available sustainability policy and plan?

Have you set targets to reduce the carbon emissions of your business and your supply chain?

Are you measuring and publicly reporting against your sustainability commitments?

And finally, are you signed up to any global or industry specific sustainability initiatives or frameworks?

These questions may seem daunting, but companies aren’t expected to know all the answers or to reach net-zero overnight. Instead, the expectation is that you will be proactive and transparent in telling your investors and your customers that you acknowledge the challenge and are planning to address it. And while different companies are at massively different stages, there are perhaps a few key actions that all should be following:

  • Firstly, ensure sustainability is brought directly into business and operational planning rather than treating it as an add-on;
  • Secondly, be open with stakeholders on your sustainability plans and commit to disclosing information regularly on progress against targets;
  • And thirdly, start being proactive in talking about what you’re doing and be part of the debate. Even world leading brands are still evolving their sustainability approach. But all of these leading brands are talking about what they’re doing.  

Being sustainable is clearly the right thing to do and should be an obligation for all businesses. But for investors and customers, a company’s sustainability performance is increasingly central to its overall value proposition.

So whether you view it from a purely ethical or purely business standpoint, now is the time to begin to act and to show that you are doing so.


Sam Hardy
Hughes | Consultant