Published 2 months ago.
About a 3 minute read.
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We ranked 1K companies on transparency, leadership and connectivity in conveying their sustainability narrative. Here are 4 insights into how global companies are successfully communicating their ESG efforts.
New research from the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business has found
that US consumers will reward businesses that practice
but a Bentley/Gallup poll shows widespread
because brands are falling short of their sustainability commitments.
What does the discrepancy mean? That US consumers will reward sustainable brands
— but brands must first earn their trust. And in order to do that, businesses
need a better playbook.
First off, let’s state the obvious: Sustainability is not a buzzword — it’s a
vital issue intertwined with the future of the planet; and US consumers are
willing to buy from, work for and invest in sustainable businesses. By far, most
younger US adults say they’d switch
to work at an organization that has a greater positive impact on the world. But
for too long, businesses have taken a check-the-box mentality when reporting
their own sustainability commitment. To build trust, companies need to embrace a
more rigorous and thoughtful approach from the top-down.
As part of our Sustainability 100 Connect.IQ Special Report,
IDX analyzed 1,000 corporate and Investor
Relations websites and ranked companies based on their transparency, leadership
and connectivity in conveying their sustainability narrative. By examining the
100 top-scoring companies, we were able to compile insights as to how global
companies are successfully communicating their ESG efforts and found that:
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Transparency means communicating meaningfully and consistently — not just with
an annual summary but throughout the year. It involves addressing the most
material issues your business faces, your plans to tackle them and your
performance against set targets.
For instance, we found that companies including Landsec and AT&T
demonstrate their sustainability strategy and materiality assessments
effectively. They provide clear, easy-to-understand explanations of their
commitments and performance — aligning their sustainability actions with their
Your company's leaders must champion sustainability initiatives, both within and
outside the organization. By leveraging the voices of your C-suite and senior
executives, you can add credibility to your sustainability narrative.
Intel CEO Patrick P. Gelsinger
and SAP Chief Sustainability Officer Daniel
Schmid are excellent examples of
leaders who actively promote their commitment to sustainability through video
messages and blog posts. Their personal narratives help connect the company's
vision to its leaders' commitment.
Connectivity is all about integrating sustainability into every aspect of your
business — from internal operations to external partnerships. The UN
Sustainable Development Goals
provide a framework that many companies align with; but it's crucial to make
these goals relevant to your specific business activities.
Companies including HSBC, Nestlé and Vodafone connect their
sustainability goals with their overarching strategies — ensuring that their
purpose guides both corporate and sustainability efforts. By clearly
demonstrating your initiatives internally and externally, you can showcase your
commitment to holistic sustainability.
Your website is your home base for sharing your sustainability narrative, but
social media allows your brand to take its sustainability story to your audience
in real time. Companies including Bayer, Microsoft and Unilever
effectively utilize social media to expand their reach, respond to ESG issues,
and tailor their messaging to different global audiences.
But remember, you must:
Be consistent. Make sustainability a regular part of your content
Be authentic. Showcase your genuine commitment to sustainability.
Use visuals. Visual content engages audiences more effectively.
Use relevant hashtags. Enhance your content's discoverability.
Be patient. Building trust and credibility takes time.
And lastly, embrace sustainability as a fundamental part of your corporate
culture, strategy and communication efforts — that’s how you can best
demonstrate your unwavering dedication to a more sustainable, equitable and
Published Dec 8, 2023 8am EST / 5am PST / 1pm GMT / 2pm CET
Amy Romero is Global CMO at Investis Digital (IDX) — which specializes in helping companies and brands leverage and maximize technology to build strong, relatable and authentic online experiences.