We talk a lot about how businesses can ensure they are connecting their everyday operations with sustainable practices. We’ve also previously touched on the importance of communicating those efforts through branding and marketing, but there are several strategies and best practices that can help businesses shape their sustainable communications to get the most authentic and beneficial engagement.
Greenwashing versus Authentic Communication
One thing that marketers have always had to balance is how to yell from the rooftops about how fantastic their product is without coming across as fake or misleading. With sustainability marketing, this balance becomes even more important to maintain.
There are three main things to take into consideration when creating and maintaining this balance to avoid greenwashing:
- Be transparent
- Be accurate
- Be consistent
These are just three points to be mindful of that can guide how you speak about your sustainability measures without falling into the greenwashing trap.
It may seem like, at this point, it would be better to just avoid saying anything at all about your business ‘going green’. However, on the other side of the coin, businesses need to be careful of purposefully avoiding speaking about their efforts, otherwise known as greenhushing.
It may seem a double-edged sword, but avoiding speaking about your efforts to avoid backlash could be seen as gatekeeping information that could further other companies’ sustainability efforts. Sharing your progress may open you up to criticism, but hiding your progress can defeat the purpose of creating a more sustainable, open landscape in the first place.
Why communicate your sustainable efforts?
With more and more consumers choosing the ‘green’ option where they can, sustainability communications becomes a business-driving strategy. It not only builds trust and brand loyalty with consumers through open and honest communications but also appeals to investors. With an increased focus on ESG, investors are treating sustainability with the same level of scrutiny as operational and financial considerations. In other words, focusing on doing good for the community and the planet can have financial benefits for companies that commit themselves fully to embracing sustainable solutions.
If you’re looking for ways to get started, we’ve got you covered.
- Using more sustainable materials (e.g., recycled materials, lower-emitting products).
- Increasing the efficiency of energy use (e.g., energy efficiency in building).
- Using energy-efficient or climate-friendly machinery, technologies, and equipment.
- Training employees on climate change actions and impact.
- Working with partners that are taking sustainable actions.
- Being influential.
Up for a bit more of a challenge? Give one of the more difficult implementations highlighted by Deloitte a go.
- Developing new climate-friendly products.
- Cradle-to-cradle concepts for (Material, usage, packaging, and end life).
- Requiring suppliers to meet specific sustainability criteria.
- Tying their performance indicators to environmental sustainability performance.
- Support, donate, or invest in not-business-related climate activities (e.g., planting trees).
- Optimising resources to ensure nothing goes to waste.
How to effectively communicate your sustainability efforts
Now that you have the ‘why’, we’re giving you the ‘how’ in as easily digestible a form as possible.
- Be Authentic
- Take an 'Always-On' Approach to Communicating
- Make Transparency a Priority
- Leveraging Awards as ESG Performance Indicators
- Discussing Sustainability Certifications Your Business Has
- Make It Accessible
- Explain How You're Working Towards Sustainability Goals
- Emphasise Your Sustainability Efforts
- Invite and Encourage Others to Participate
- Measure Your Impact — and Report It
- Tell a Story
- Guidance from ACCC on Environmental Claims
Standing out in this case means showing a genuine commitment to sustainability and utilising every resource in your toolbox to showcase that commitment honestly and clearly. Effectively communicating your commitment to sustainability can have a great impact on your brand and help your business to win market.
Developing a Sustainable Marketing Strategy
Developing the marketing strategy to best showcase your sustainability can feel like a mammoth task. And that’s where marketing agencies can come in to support you in finding the best strategy for your specific business. But there are a few things to keep in mind for when you are speaking with an agency, to ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Integrating Sustainability into Your Brand Identity
- Aligning Sustainability Goals with Marketing Objectives
- Measuring and Evaluating the Impact of Your Sustainability Communication
- Set Clear and Quantifiable Goals
- Identify Your Stakeholders
- Choose Your Communication Channels
- Tailor Your Message to Each Channel and Audience
- Seek Feedback
- Learn and Improve
- Bonus: Add Sustainability to Your Brand Content Pillars
While this may seem like a huge amount of information, it is important to remember that while things aren’t yet perfect, there are thousands of businesses making steps of varying sizes that all contribute to the end goal: a more sustainable business landscape.
Implementing and communicating sustainable practices and solutions in your business can be difficult, and that is why companies like Mo Works exist. We thrive on supporting businesses to create strategies that showcase the good they are doing, and our integrated team are experts on integrating sustainability in marketing strategies from start to finish.
Curious how sustainability can grow your business? Get in touch with us today!