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Organizational Change
7 Ways to Create Buzz Around Your Sustainability Work (No Greenwashing Required)

Now’s the time to take all that effort and integrate it into fun engagement opportunities for both your workforce and your brand’s biggest fans. Here are our seven favorite ideas for doing just that.

Say you just received your B Corp certification or published your annual sustainability report — congrats! So much work; such important initiatives, goals and commitments — all of which deserve both applause and audience.

But brace yourself: Your work’s not done — we’re trying to change the world, after all — but the next steps don’t have to be so laborious. Now’s the time to take all that effort and integrate it into fun engagement opportunities for both your workforce and your brand’s biggest fans.

Here are our seven favorite ideas for doing just that, collected through years of promoting and publicizing both our B Corp certification and annual impact reports and those of our clients. Steal wildly; get credit for all you’re doing!

1. Timing is everything.

Pick an intentional launch date for your report that is relevant to your brand. We launched our latest Impact Report on June 1 — coinciding with our annual company-wide volunteer day, Goodworks. We’ve also shared it during an annual creativity festival, where it was received with a theater full of enthusiasm.

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Think: What events, occasions or holidays are meaningful to your organization and thematically align with the goals and initiatives you feature in your sustainability report?

2. Win inside to win outside.

Every day, we find new ways to express the importance of operating as a responsible, sustainable, certified B Corporation — but we can’t do it without our employees. That’s why we tap them to star in content we create for presentations, speeches, speaker booths and on social media throughout the year. And we regularly ideate and share tips and tricks to both live and work sustainably: We like to create what we call one-sheeters — a single page of ideas to print on recycled paper (we posted ours in the restrooms!) or display on digital screens — to help employees keep sustainability goals top of mind. Composting at the office increased three-fold with proper signage.

Think: How can you celebrate your wins with your employees to inspire them and share tangible ways they can see themselves in the sustainability work that needs to be done throughout the year? Your people make your progress possible.

3. Lean into your brand’s beloved rituals or icons.

Our company HQ features a retired TWA rocket on the rooftop; so our employees lovingly call themselves ‘rocket people’ — which means yes, astronaut mascots frequently appear at various events throughout the year. This ritual inspired the creative imagery for the reports, social content and print materials we used to announce our B Corp certification to the world. Iconic imagery makes for inspired social sharing from your brand’s true believers.

Think: What rituals, icons or imagery has significant meaning to your employees and brand identity; and how can you use it within both your report (next year) and how you promote it?

4. Bring on the (sustainable) swag.

We think through our impact on our communities through every action we take — from supporting our client’s production needs down to our preferred caterers. And we love opportunities to support local, women-owned and minority-owned businesses. So, when it came time to celebrate our B Corp certification, we sent our employees a box of goodies and Barkley-branded merch to celebrate, sourced from diverse suppliers and fellow B Corp brands: confetti seeds; a reusable tote with the iconic astronaut photo; a copy of our book, The Purpose Advantage; and a bento box for to-go lunches on office days. Thematically on point; extra points for usability.

Think: Can you include your employees on what type of swag they’d be proud to use, wear or celebrate — or even give them a chance to opt out to save waste if they aren’t interested? Then, can you intentionally source these items from diverse, local, minority-owned or B Corp-certified vendors?

5. Share the love and add a hashtag.

At Barkley, our mission is to #addgood to everything we do — a mantra we’ve used so much over the years, we created a hashtag our partners know to use any time client work, a volunteer effort, shareable ideas and especially our sustainability work is mentioned on social media. One of our favorite ways #addgood comes to life? A content series we call “People of Barkley” — a showcase of the diverse perspectives and creative talent who animate our brand. Encourage your employees to use it when speaking about their contributions, and pulling content to include in next year’s report will be easier, too.

Think: How can you encourage your employees to share and promote the good work your brand is doing in a way that feels authentic to both them and your brand?

6. Turn metrics into gratitude + awareness opportunities.

Every year, we feature in our report external partners, clients, vendors, suppliers and other stakeholders that help us achieve our sustainability goals — hopefully, you do, too! We also reach out to these stakeholders post-launch to personally thank them for helping us reach our goals and sharing future plans and expectations for our ongoing partnerships.

Think: How can you mine your ESG metrics and trace them back to individuals and organizations critical to your progress? Then, what type of personalized gesture can you create to share your gratitude and encourage continued collaboration?

7. Start now to build next year’s report.

Once our report is out in the world, we debrief to level-set and re-align on the work ahead. This allows us to analyze what worked, what was hard and where we can improve for next year. A huge discovery for us was realizing that collecting stories, testimonials, case studies, photographs and video year-round makes the following year’s report compilation that much easier — and adds flair and personality to the report itself.

Think: Can you hire or assign an employee resource group to capture and cover events and opportunities that can not only feed next year’s report in terms of stories and content, but can also add value, recognition and encouragement to employees doing this work throughout the year? Are there existing communication channels inside or outside of your organization — like your company's intranet or LinkedIn — from which you can mine stories for your report year-round?

From employees and external stakeholders to your brand’s biggest fans, the people who believe in your brand are your most valuable resource and a competitive advantage for your business. Intentionally investing in ways to encourage their belief and involvement in your sustainability strategy is key to maximizing momentum toward your goals — and that’s a win-win for everyone.

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