; How to communicate sustainability | Strive

The world is changing and so are the opportunities and challenges that companies face. In 1972, the first global conference expressing concern for the environment took place: The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. Since then, countries have tried to agree on how to reduce emission levels, The Conference of Parties (COP), the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement are results of this.

This concern not only distresses governments but also their respective citizens who are gradually becoming more aware. Approximately 66% of consumers would be willing to pay more for a sustainable product and 32% consider themselves environmentally conscious and are adapting their lifestyles to be more sustainable. Furthermore, according to a study made by Accenture, 60% of ecofriendly companies have begun to increase their impact, in part, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moreover, customers are becoming increasingly aware of companies that engage in greenwashing techniques as they all tend to follow a similar pattern. In general, they are vague, inaccurate, and ultimately, unrealistic in their expectations. It is not uncommon to see in advertising campaigns slogans such as “Our product is 100% natural, ecofriendly, organic, recycled…”. These statements are not backed by any data and give an untrue brand image that does not correspond to reality. Therefore, it is important that companies with a true and legitimate concern for the environment effectively differentiate themselves, giving accurate, relevant, and detailed information about all the processes and materials used in order to achieve a green company, product or service.

What should companies communicate?

  1. Be accurate, providing data on the emissions, offsets, and reductions of their carbon footprint.
  2. Be clear and relevant to their target audience. Avoid using vague and general phrases that can be easily copied by competitors. Instead, for example, if you want to convey a green image, obtain a certified environmental seal to support your claim.
  3. Be substantiated with objective, transparent, and up-to-date data. Customers only gives one chance, avoid lying to him or making him feel deceived because you will never get him back and this involves a great cost and risk for the company.
  4. Avoid exaggerating the beneficial environmental impacts of its activities: Phrases such as “We are the most sustainable company in the world” make the message lose its strength and the consumer tends to see it as just another advertisement, thus losing its awareness.
  5. Avoid creating a false impression or disregard trade-offs.
  6. Refer to voluntary actions or achievements that go beyond complying with existing legislation or standard business practices. Right now there are a lot of product carbon measurement standards such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the ISO or the BSI.

A good communication strategy can increase market share and improve brand image. Nevertheless, measuring, reducing, and neutralising their carbon footprint are the first and essentials parts of any sustainability strategy. If a company wants to go beyond, it can also benefit by communicating it efficiently to the market.

If you would like to obtain more information or neutralise the environmental impact of your product, please do not hesitate to contact us.