ESG and sustainability have become dominant topics in public debates. Environmental activists have put climate change in the spotlight. Politicians and the general public have picked it up and now hold corporations accountable. Amidst all the conversations, how can companies stand out?
We ask our PRecious experts to share how organisations can cut through the noise and be heard, at a time when everyone is talking about ESG, sustainability, and the controversial side issue of greenwashing.
Doing the right thing and talking about it appropriately is a fine balance: If you really drive sustainability and you don’t communicate, then nobody knows all the good things you are doing. But if you go overboard, you can be seen as being boastful. The other dimension is the sincerity of your approach: Is it a one-off project for show or are linking your efforts to a bigger purpose and vision of your brand? Consumers, activists, and to some extent also shareholders demand more responsible behaviour from brands and institutions and are holding them accountable. In the end your sincerity and actual execution do matter—for your contributions to reduce climate change, as well as for any other initiatives for the greater good your organisation embarks on!
Lars Voedisch, Founder & Managing Director, PRecious Communications
With stakeholders looking for integrity among organisations they support, ethics should be the cornerstone of ESG initiatives. By sharing misleading information and exaggerated accounts on green initiatives, companies will merely be fighting a losing battle. The truth always has a way of coming out, and organisations that fail to be transparent and open from the very start will eventually lose trust and credibility among their stakeholders.
As communicators, it’s really up to us to foster authenticity in the age of greenwashing and ensure that the messages being sent out by brands and organisations we represent provide significant value beyond mere vanity.
Prayaank Gupta, Vice President, Growth & Innovation
Sustainability has become a critical business strategy. And nowadays, it is imperative for organisations to review and reevaluate their processes and see how they can implement changes to save the environment.
Sustainability initiatives should not merely be done for the sake of showing off a brand’s green credentials. Rather, they should be implemented as part of a bigger vision, and as a way to contribute to the wider community. Achieving energy savings, deploying clean energy solutions, recycling plastic waste, or making efforts to reduce the carbon footprint are just some of the possibilities to join the green revolution. On a national level, we have car-free days and Earth day, which companies can leverage to communicate their initiatives. What will set them apart however is their consistency, and how transparent they are with their green efforts.
Busakorn Srisongkhroh, Thailand Market Lead
As communications professionals advising clients across APAC, we have seen a surge in clients reaching out for advice on how to amplify their ESG initiatives.
The understanding of what ESG is, and what it should look like, varies greatly among the companies and sectors we work with. While many are comfortable to follow the lead of their head office for all ESG matters, locally based firms struggle to understand where to begin, what to implement, or how to integrate environmental, social and governance strategies into their business and culture.
The most common issue is looking at ESG only through the lens of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. ESG strategies need to run through the veins of the company culture and align more broadly with industry and regulatory requirements, in order to measurably hit the sustainable and environmental goals on a more macro level and achieve impact.
Kiranjeet Sidhu, Malaysia Market Lead
Inspired by this post? If you are looking to build trusted relationships with your key audiences, get in touch with us to expand your company’s PR and communications game in the age of greenwashing. Let’s work towards achieving greater community impact.