As an organization, expressing your sustainability strategies to external stakeholders is essential to building your brand and your profits. Disclosing sustainability efforts isn’t black and white.
Sustainability Disclosures Should Be Specific
Many organizations claim to be “going green” without explaining specific actions they are taking to do so. Okapi Environmental Services values specific certifications, community events, and overall transparency to engage with external parties. Let’s dive into the specifics of how to provide ongoing education to your external stakeholders, and why this is important to a company’s sustainability efforts.
Educating and informing customers, investors, suppliers, and all other external stakeholders on a company’s sustainability efforts is essential to gain their ongoing support and loyalty. Additionally, it’s important because your education may also encourage them to make positive personal sustainability choices.
- Highlight Sustainability Efforts Online
First, make sure you are highlighting sustainability efforts and results on your company’s website, marketing materials, and financial reports. These should clearly communicate your sustainability goals, initiatives, and progress. This helps all who see them to understand your commitment to sustainability. It may also inspire others to join your company as new employees, customers, or investors.
- Provide Informational Content
Secondly, continually provide educational resources. You can create things such as guides, blogs and videos that explain the importance of sustainability, and your company’s commitment to its goals. These resources may also encourage more sustainable behavior among those who see them. The usage and placement of these items is almost limitless. But this is an important step in externally getting the word out about your program.
- Label Your Products & Services
A key third step is to correctly label sustainable products and services. A company can use various labeling icons, or certifications, to readily indicate sustainable products or services, such as: eco-friendly, organically grown products, recyclable. All of these help the end user identify sustainably-conscious products, and may provide an edge versus your competition.
- Connect With Your Audience
Next, it’s important to engage your stakeholders in sustainability programs where possible. Options range from including a supplier in talks about end-of-life disposition, to including investors and others in the community to participate in a local volunteer clean-up effort. Again, the opportunities are endless. Engagement is key.
This particular aspect of external education helps all your stakeholders understand and appreciate the impact of their actions on the environment, and value the efforts and progress you are making as an organization.
- Provide Sustainability Incentives
Finally, just like we saw with the internal educational and training programs – it’s important to have fun. One way to do this is by providing incentives to your audience for their sustainable choices. Examples could be discounts, loyalty points, or preferred seating options if you are an entertainment venue. This helps encourage long-term individual sustainable behavior along with brand loyalty.
Educating Stakeholders Builds Your Brand
By educating external stakeholders about your sustainability efforts, you build trust, increase loyalty and encourage sustainable behavior among this group, who are so vital to the long-term success of your organization. Bottom line, your efforts will create a positive impact on the environment and society, while supporting your company’s sustainability goals. If you’d like a complementary initial consultation to discuss ideas for improving your external educational efforts, or want more information on how to get a program started, please reach out to our sustainability strategy experts. You can also send us an email to get your sustainability discussions started. f you want to learn more about additional sustainability topics, please visit our blog page.