Living Stone blog 3

 

 

All Posts

Why you should be talking about your company’s sustainability practices

If a tree falls in the forest, and there’s nobody there to hear it – does it make a sound? It’s the same for your organization’s sustainability practices. If you’re not actively promoting your sustainability initiatives, you’re missing a key opportunity to strengthen your company’s reputation and perception in the public eye, as well as your corporate valuation.

Report your social and environmental impact

Many organizations don’t talk about their corporate responsibility programs. Or if they do, it’s limited to a mention in the annual report, in line with their national reporting regulations. New reporting rules, including the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive, which requires large companies to publish regular reports on the social and environmental impacts of their activities, mean that companies are starting to articulate their positions on a range of issues, including environmental protection, social responsibility and treatment of employees, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and bribery and diversity on company boards.

In Belgium, large enterprises employing more than 500 people are also legally obliged as of this year to report on their social and environmental impact. Across the EU, many companies are still finetuning their sustainability reporting approach. In countries with existing reporting rules on corporate responsibility, including Germany, Sweden and the UK, the new EU directive has been aligned with existing requirements. In countries where the rule is new, the approach and law is still under determination.

But even where sustainability reporting is the norm, these initiatives aren’t, in many cases, crossing over to B2B marketing and communications. Climate change is one example. What is your company doing to limit carbon emissions, locally as well as throughout the supply chain? And how do these initiatives benefit your company, your customers, etc.? How is your organization making a difference?

If you’re not talking about your organization’s response to climate change, you’re not alone. Even though we’re seeing the impact of climate change across the globe, a recent KPMG study[i] of 4,900 companies from around the world showed that only 28% referred to the financial risk of climate change in their annual reports. And of those 28%, how many are publicizing their approach to managing this risk?

The truth is, for many organizations, sustainability reporting is a fairly new speciality. But as it becomes more prominent, it’s critical to incorporate it into all B2B communications – even for smaller companies for whom the new EU reporting directives don’t apply – yet.

 » We're organizing a free infusinar: “Why include sustainability in your B2B marketing story?” on Tuesday 16 October.

Why is sustainability reporting important?

There are numerous reasons:

  • Your investors and customers are increasingly making decisions based on their perception of your company as a responsible global citizen. If you’re not communicating about your sustainability achievements, they won’t know about them. And that will be a competitive disadvantage.
  • More ratings agencies (DOW, Moody’s, Nasdaq) now rank for sustainability. To gain investors, you need a good ranking. And new ratings agencies (Sustainalytics, Standard Ethics, etc.) that focus on sustainability rankings for public companies are gaining ground. Large banking/finance groups are already taking into account these sustainability rankings to allocate (advantageous) loans.
  • You need to be sustainable to operate in many markets, and bid for business. Many authorities and governments and also large companies require proof/transparency before they’ll partner with you. Because your activities are as important to their sustainability ranking as their own operations, the entire value/supply chain is taken into consideration: not only the company itself is evaluated, also the organizations and people they deal with are taken into account.
  • There’s a huge perception value in promoting your sustainability practices - for your employees, your community and your business partners.

Why bury your sustainability achievements in your annual report? As a B2B marketer, you’re perfectly positioned to champion your organization’s sustainability initiatives widely, and make it easy for your audiences to understand your focus on sustainability. It’s not just ‘greenwashing.’ Communicating about your sustainability efforts helps create a competitive advantage.

 

Want to learn more?

Living Stone is bringing together two sustainability experts (Maarten Geerts & Marjola Maes) to share their insights at our free infusinar: Why include sustainability in your B2B marketing story?” on Tuesday 16 October.

 

 

[i] ‘The road ahead,’ The KPMG Survey on Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2017, Lead authors: José Luis Blasco, Adrian King. https://assets.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/be/pdf/2017/kpmg-survey-of-corporate-responsibility-reporting-2017.pdf

Maarten Geerts
Maarten Geerts
Sustainability expert

Related Posts

Meet MUM: Google’s new game-changing algorithm

Some updates to Google’s algorithm have a bigger impact than others. With the rollout of BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) in 2019, Google’s algorithms went from simply understanding words to being able to understand the context that the words were in. For example, think about how the meaning of the word “bank” differs in these sentences: I am going to the bank. / I am standing on the bank of the river. Thanks to the BERT algorithm, Google recognizes these nuances, and is able to provide search results that more closely align with the subject being searched for, providing the searcher with information that is more relevant.

Customer lifetime value emerges as top KPI

According to the experts at Marketo, marketers can expect to see a significant shift in marketing priorities over the next couple of years. The marketing automation company surveyed over 700 marketing execs and CEOs for their views on how marketing KPIs, required skillsets and technology tools will change by the year 2025. The surveyed marketers ranked customer retention, lead generation and customer lifetime value as their top three KPIs today (in that order). By 2025, they forecast that the order will switch, with customer lifetime value taking the lead at spot number one, followed by customer retention at number two (and lead generation will drop down to spot number six.)

Commercializing a new medical device? 3 critical success factors to consider

Launching a new medical device is a complicated process. First, of course, you have to come up with a concept. What do you want your technology to do, and how will it do it? There’s that initial period of blue-sky thinking and prototype development, where you refine your technology and determine whether it’s viable. Then, once you decide to move ahead with commercialization, and you’ve achieved your safety and efficacy goals, the pace picks up, and suddenly you’re on a fast track to your launch target date.