How to Communicate Sustainability Successfully

5 Ways to Communicate Sustainability Successfully

A part of being a successful business means being able to communicate sustainability successfully. Done effectively, this can create loyalty with existing customers, grow your audience, and help to attract investors and potential talent.

However, there are some challenges standing in the way. If sustainability communication is done poorly, it can result in accusations of greenwashing, damaging your reputation as a brand. There can also be a lot of confusion around sustainability topics. Care needs to be taken to ensure you’re not misleading your audience.

Educational content written by Carys Burton 

author, Carys Burton

How to Communicate Sustainability Successfully

To avoid the challenges surrounding sustainability communication, here are five ways to ensure your business communicates sustainability successfully:

1. Be Transparent to Communicate Sustainability Successfully

Transparency really is key when it comes to sustainability communications. This means being completely upfront about the impact your business is having on the environment. It’s not enough to just show your accomplishments. Communicating about the areas that still need improvement and how you plan on tackling the issues increases trust and helps avoid any accusation of greenwashing.

A concrete example of this is Lidl’s sustainability reports, which clearly lay out different areas for improvement, their progress in each one, and the goals for the future.

This is a great example of a company communicating sustainability successfully.

Communicate Sustainability Successfully - Be Transparent
To communicate sustainability successfully you should be Transparent

2. Keep It Simple to Communicate Sustainability Successfully

Sustainability can be complex and abstract. When you’re trying to communicate your efforts, make sure to use terms and ideas that are accessible to your audience. Think about what may need more explanation and what the best way to do that is. For example, complex ideas may be better communicated visually.

Unless it’s in an ESG report, try to resist including every possible piece of information. Sustainability is a huge topic. Narrow it down and focus on what metrics are most important to your company and what stories you want to communicate. This will help your message be clear and understandable and will help you to communicate sustainability successfully.

Keep it simple
Keeping sustainability communication simple will help your success

3. Make It Engaging to Communicate Sustainability Successfully

Listing off a bunch of figures or going into too much detail will bore your audience. As with all your communications, you have to make it engaging. Emphasise why your actions matter and tell the story behind them.

For example, people have heard plenty of times that a company wants to ‘fight climate change’. While an important goal, it’s big and hard to grasp. On the other hand, people relate to human stories where specific efforts have a measurable impact on the environment and communities.

Avoiding jargon and writing in an appealing, conversational tone can also help your sustainability communications more engaging.

Communicating Sustainability Successfully - If you make your content engaging, you will have more success
If you make your communication engaging, you will have more success

4. Change the Format to Communicate Sustainability Successfully

How you communicate can be just as important as what you’re sharing. Businesses looking to boost their credibility and drive involvement should tell their sustainability story in ways that are accessible to their target audience.

For employees, you may want to hold an interactive workshop, but for partners, a booklet may be the better option. Social media is almost necessary in today’s world and can be a fantastic tool to spread your message to consumers and beyond.

By diversifying the way you tell your story, you will more more likely to communicate sustainability successfully.

You should change the format of your comms to suit the target audience
You should change the format of your comms to suit the target audience

5. Be True to Your Brand to Communicate Sustainability Successfully

How do your sustainability efforts relate to your values as a company? How have your efforts been impacted by your business’s attributes and strategies? Thinking about these topics can inform and aid how you spread your sustainability message. They can inform everything from narrative to design and will help you craft truly engaging and memorable content.

Ultimately, all sustainability communication should be a part of your business’s commitment to being open and accountable about its impact on society, the planet, and future generations. Doing it successfully means building your business’s reputation and creating a competitive advantage.

Communicating Sustainability Successfully - Being true to your values is a great way to build your reputation
Being true to your values is a great way to build your reputation

Not only that, but by keeping it simple, transparent, and engaging, you can help motivate others to change too.

This just goes to show that if you communicate sustainability successfully, it’s not just great for business, it’s great for the planet.


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