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Telling Your Sustainability Story

Posted by jfw1mpac7 on April 22, 2014

By Julia Ferguson Wilkens 


Sustainability is often treated as just another marketing fad but, rest assured, it is here to stay and will only grow more important with time.  There is an increasingly desperate need for all of us — individual citizens of the world, governments, and businesses alike — to step up our efforts to care for our natural resources and our fellow man, as these resources dwindle and the world population balloons. Sustainability's importance is rising for consumers and business partners, too, as a deciding factor for which products to buy, which companies to invest in, and which causes to support. Thus, it makes good ethical and business sense for organizations to engage in initiatives to improve their sustainability, and to raise awareness of their efforts among their stakeholders.

How can your organization communicate effectively about your sustainability efforts? Here are a few tips to guide the way.

1. Create a sustainability report that highlights your organization's efforts.

This report can be styled after an annual report, or it can be a simple fact sheet. Sustainability is no longer an afterthought for your consumers, clients, and investors so make it easy for them to see how you are reducing your environmental impact or supporting your community. Impact has loads of experience writing reports that are highly educational and still emotional and evocative, and we'd love to lend a hand if your organization is considering a sustainability report of some kind.

2. Get a handle on green branding rules and regulations.

Environmental labeling can be a land mine for organizations trying to use green claims or endorsements to promote their products or organizations. This primer from the International Organization of Standardization can help you navigate these choppy waters to ensure that you are promoting claims that are meaningful to your consumer and staying within regulations.

3. Above all else, remain authentic and don't overreach in your sustainability messaging.

Let's face it, if your organization is doing anything that creates waste or pollution, you're not helping the environment.  Painting your company as more environmentally friendly than it is for the sake or public relations or marketing is called "greenwashing."  If you're negatively affecting the environment — take responsibility and show how you are taking steps to improve your organization's footprint. 


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