The recent UN climate report, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), demonstrates a dire necessity for organizations worldwide to take a stand against climate change and mitigate further climate-related damage.
The UN’s IPCC is the world’s leading authority on climate science, and its recent report confirms the undeniable tie between human activity and climate change—as well as the Earth currently being on track to exceed an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius within 20 years.
Understandably, businesses may be hesitant to share their efforts and solidarity on climate initiatives through social media because they often come under fire from consumer activists. And critics are especially vocal when a company’s messaging on social media lacks honesty or authenticity.
Nonetheless, it is still crucial for companies to communicate their positions and plans to address climate change.
Below are some critical points to consider for effectively building and communicating a company’s current and future commitment to environmental sustainability:
Messaging should be true to the brand and the actions they are taking. Authentic sustainability messaging should focus on the company’s activities around sustainability initiatives. Executives are responsible for ensuring that the content is truthful, leading the company to incorporate data supporting claims and update customers on their progress. PR partners can pose guiding questions to the company to help build out key messages.
While a brand may not be a leader in environmental impact assessment or developing sustainable initiatives, it’s OK to openly acknowledge areas that need improvement and how the company plans to address issues. Consumers value honesty and continuous improvement, and this type of vulnerability can be well-received by consumers and employees alike.
Incorporate concrete statistics and science-based facts that demonstrate that the company is working towards strategic, measurable goals—not simply capitalizing on feel-good storytelling. These steps are essential to developing sustainability messaging that is authentic to the company and its brand.
Another aspect of effective sustainability messaging is its accessibility.
Whether the company is putting out its Environmental, Sustainability and Governance (ESG) plan or a social media statement, the company should be mindful of its audience and what kind of language is most appropriate. A company won’t always direct environmental messaging toward stakeholders or investors, for example, and jargon can make it more difficult for the public to resonate with its statements.
Companies should make sure their stakeholders understand their initiatives and can engage with their sustainability initiatives. To build trust with the general public, the messaging should be as clear and transparent as possible about the company’s initiatives and current progress. As an example, Patagonia’s dedicated Climate Crisis webpage outlines how the company is eliminating its carbon emissions by 2025 and its progress toward these goals.
Messaging should be inclusive and people-centric. Climate change impacts the poorest, equatorial regions of the world the hardest, making it easier for people in more privileged positions to dismiss them. However, a company’s environmental messaging should be inclusive and incorporate the stories of those heavily impacted by climate change. This inclusivity will make it easier for audiences to have empathy and support change.
Companies can take this opportunity to raise awareness of the extent of climate change around the world, as well as in their own backyards. Finally, it is vital to highlight how race and environmental health are connected. For example, studies show a significant disparity in U.S. air pollution depending on where a person lives.
Ultimately, organizations and the customers they serve should all be working together toward similar goals of investing in a healthier planet and home. Climate change will eventually impact everyone, no matter where they live. However, by effectively communicating their commitment to sustainability, companies can both raise awareness of sustainability issues and build trust with consumers that they prioritize contributing to a healthier shared environment.Tags: Authenticity, brand identity, climate change, commitment, communications plan, Company Messaging, corporate responsibility, corporate social responsibility, Economic Climate, global warming, honesty, planet, socially responsible, Spokespeople, sustainability