As a marketing and communications agency focused on sustainability and cleantech, we have tracked the remarkable rise of awareness and expectations of ESG considerations. Knowing that communicators play an important role supporting ESG-themed corporate efforts, we developed a white paper titled, “ESG Communications in the Year that Changed Everything.”
The paper comes at time of change for the ESG category: ESG funds have outperformed the market during a pandemic; the U.S. is undergoing a vast racial reckoning sparked by the killing of George Floyd, leading to a fast focus on the social part of ESG issues; and meanwhile, many corporate GHG commitments had 2020 deadlines which have gone largely unnoticed during this explosive time. In researching the paper, we analyzed media coverage of such themes in 2020 and discovered substantial variance with a clear focus on topics related to diversity and inequality (see graphic below).
Our team of communicators, designers and strategists recognizes that business growth today requires environmental, social and governance leadership. At the same time, investors, citizens, policymakers, employees and other audiences want more commitment, transparency and proof of action. We are proud to introduce this white paper during such an extraordinary year when ESG leadership is needed most, and when expectations of communicators are highest.
It’s anyone’s guess what the “next normal” that arises from the many challenges of 2020 will be, and challenges surely lie ahead. Despite all the uncertainty, the white paper explains the fundamental strategies ESG communicators can adopt to ensure messages resonate and enhance the brand in the long run.
Meet the moment. The time when business leaders could just put their heads down and make a good widget is long gone. The major challenges (climate change, ecosystem collapse, inequality) and opportunities (rapid technological innovation, energy transition, decreasing global poverty) of our era demand a concerted effort. Communicators should encourage substantive ESG action at their companies, and report comprehensively on that action.
Weave purpose, vision, mission, and values into your brand narrative. In so doing, focus on how ESG issues play into your company’s role in the world. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to “end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity,” offer an excellent framework for this approach. For example, SDG Goal 7 is Affordable and Clean Energy, so a cleantech company should assess the five targets and indicators associated with that goal and describe how its products and services are helping to meet those targets.
Skip the platitudes. People have wised up to ESG messaging that is little more than empty promises. They are looking for substance, and they want to hear what you’re doing about issues that are directly relevant to your business. The SMART targets outlined earlier in this paper will help you to deliver the requisite substance.
Be impeccable with your word. If you say your company is going to do something, or that something is important to your company, be prepared to back that up with action and evidence. If you fall short on a target, be honest about it, explain why it happened, and lay out a plan for how you’ll improve.
Read the full paper here: https://teamsilverline.com/expertise/esg/