Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) marketing is no longer optional. With governments and companies around the globe focused on reducing their carbon footprint in order to reach the Paris Agreement, it is essential for companies to be communicating ESG impact to their stakeholders. According to data released from the PwC’s 2021 Consumer Intelligencer Survey, it was found that consumers and employees expect companies to proactively set ESG best practices. 86% of employees also said that they prefer to work for companies with which their interests and values align whereas 83% of consumers said that companies should be actively shaping ESG best practices.
Not only are employees and consumers asking for change, investors too are interested in ESG, which is one of the biggest reasons for the increase in momentum. According to a report released by Morningstar earlier this year, the global sustainable funds attracted USD 87 billion in the first quarter and USD 32.6 billion of net new money in the second quarter of 2022.
The above-mentioned data highlights why it is absolutely necessary for companies to talk about their ESG goals and standards as a part of their marketing efforts. According to McKinsey, a well-positioned ESG strategy “links to higher value creation” and the data revealed above supports this. Hence, it needs to be a part of both, internal and external communication, as customers, employees, investors and potential clients are all looking for companies that match their values.
Communicating ESG Information Effectively
Communicating ESG information requires special considerations and sign-offs. Especially when it comes to sustainability, marketers need to ensure that they are not greenwashing as this can cause damage to the brand name. If you’re looking to integrate ESG marketing into your regular marketing strategy, here are some things to keep in mind while doing so:
Be Honest and Transparent
While communicating your ESG standards and goals, make sure you are creating content that is authentic, honest and transparent. Ensure that it is backed up by concrete actions and proof points. The best way to do this is by making the climate issue a part of the business model, rather than using it to gain support as an afterthought.
Double Check All ESG Communication
While communicating ESG standards and goals, make sure to double-check all communication and have internal teams and legal sign off before putting out any information. This will ensure that it does not backfire or lead to any legal issues. Extra care needs to be taken with ESG communication, so make sure you set aside the right amount of time for it while creating your ESG strategy.
Simple and Straightforward Communication
Keep your ESG communication simple and straightforward and let the facts and stats speak for themselves. Just be sure to double-check all the facts and stats with relevant internal teams and experts to ensure that all your communication is airtight. Simple language and straightforward information are what will be most effective for such communication.
Deal with the Hard Questions
When it comes to the hard questions, people tend to avoid them. But the best way to deal with it is to answer such questions so that there is no room for doubt. Use the right language and communicate sustainability credentials in a transparent manner. Especially while using terms like “green” or “eco”, make sure to back up those claims with substantial data and initiatives. Honest and open communication, even on difficult subjects is what will help you build trust.
Bring in Experts to do the Talking
When it comes to the technical aspects, it is best to get an expert on board to help you break down the essential information. Having them highlight the different sustainability initiatives, certifications and strategies will give your B2B brand more credibility with stakeholders.
The Economist described sustainability as one of the woolliest words in business. Getting caught up in jargon and conveying a company’s sustainability strategy is easy, but a more trust-inducing approach is simple and easily comprehensible. Employ stakeholders within your communication across all platforms to humanise and effectively describe your ESG strategy. If your audience cannot fully comprehend your ESG strategy, they won’t buy into it.