Are you sharing your reporting on your organization’s sustainability activities with your stakeholders? If you are, congratulations – you’ve taken a key step on your sustainability journey. A sustainability report is one way to share your sustainability story with your various stakeholders. However, there’s a lot more that you can do to get the message across – and a lot more value that you can derive from it. Here are six ways you can share your sustainability story more effectively:
Tell it like a story.
Sustainability initiatives are focused on doing the right thing, on (continuously) improving, or addressing matters that you feel deeply concerned about. Use this framework to shape the way you tell your story. What is the relevance for your company? (Why have you chosen to help children, women, or the planet, for example?) What solution or assistance is your company providing? (Cash, revisions to your manufacturing processes, or have you started a program for on-site waste reduction?) What has been the impact of your contribution? (How have you helped, how much waste have you eliminated, etc.) People love to hear stories, and sustainability initiatives make very good ones.
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Tailor the story to your audiences.
You’ve got one, overarching sustainability story, but don’t shy away from tuning in on specific aspects when addressing different audiences. Your senior execs want to zero in on the economic benefits. Your employees want to know how they can help, and how they can be part of the story. Your community wants to know what you’re doing to be a good citizen, within your community. And your customers want to understand why they should feel good about partnering with your organization. Identify what’s most important to each of your audiences, and promote that aspect of your sustainability story to them.
Make sure everybody inside your organization is telling the same story.
Everyone at your organization should understand at least the basics of your sustainability program. At a minimum, people should know (1) who you help; and (2) why you help this group. “We’re reducing waste to help climate change,” or “We help children living in poverty because we manufacture toys.” Share the elevator pitch version widely, so your people have it at their fingertips when they want to share or explain it.
Bring it home to employees with events, award programs, site visits and more.
Organize an event to celebrate your company’s sustainability program, perhaps for the launch, or to mark a big milestone. Create a sustainability award program for employees. Organize a presentation or a site visit to fully explain your sustainability practices to employees, or share an update on your sustainability programs at your new year’s reception or other event. These approaches will underscore the importance of your sustainability practice for your employees, and help to keep the momentum going.
Engage in a corporate sponsorship.
Sponsor a charitable organization or NGO that is active in an area that aligns with your company’s sustainability goals. Share the news of your sponsorship as widely as possible, and share frequent updates on the progress of the sponsored organization.
Use all your tools to talk about your story.
Your sustainability story is an important part of your company profile. It’s also very interesting from the point of view of your audiences. Tell your story across social media, through content marketing, even native advertising. Use photos or videos as often as you can. Think about the images that catch your attention as you scroll through your feeds, and what makes them so compelling.
Are you maximizing your sustainability story in your communications programs? Or is your program still hidden in your annual report or on a solitary web page? At Living Stone, we can help you find the best ways to share your story, and optimize the impact across all of your audiences. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how.