4 key learnings from working on ESG projects

4 key learnings from working on ESG projects

With this year’s COP just around the corner, changes to international sustainability reporting rules in the new year and following another summer of unprecedented heat – ESG and sustainability continue to be top of business agendas.

When it comes to our ESG and sustainability work, the range is unsurprisingly broad: the challenges and opportunities vary hugely between businesses and depending on size and scope.

However, if we had to give just a few pieces of advice when it comes to PR around sustainability (be this social or environmental), ESG, climate or the energy transition – we would start with these:

  1. Meet people where they are: This defines our approach to sustainability and ESG communications. We know that many firms have to learn fast and feel their way when it comes to sustainability. Others may have purpose or regeneration built in, but no experience in PR or getting across why the world needs their product or service. The same applies to audiences: wherever possible, take the time to understand the people you’re trying to reach and their understanding of the issue. Assuming a level of knowledge on complex topics may risk alienating those you’re speaking to.
  2. Shift the mindset away from competition: Collaboration is essential across the board when it comes to tackling current environmental and social challenges. Communication can lead and encourage this. Progress made through partnerships, whether that’s industry associations, charity partnerships, within your supply chain or even with direct competitors, are all the more newsworthy for the collaboration they represent and their ability to bring about change on a larger scale.
  3. Visuals matter: We’ve grown accustomed to images of happy staff and tree-lined landscapes to reflect the themes covered within ESG and sustainability. Even repeated images of floods and wildfires risk becoming normalised and losing their impact. Wherever possible, think about whether you can take a different approach with imagery: how can we source an individual and eye-catching image, or would an infographic, or a GIF, get across what you’re trying to say better?
  4. Use the fear of greenwashing to improve: As greenwashing rules tighten scrutiny will increase on marketing and communications materials relating to ‘green claims’. Rather than dial back, now is the time to assess what the legislation means and embed processes to check for inadvertent greenwash: from staff training to glossaries, to checklists and sign-off processes, this will depend on the business and size of the team. There will be competitive advantages to having responded in advance to this risk.

To find out more about our ESG and sustainability PR services, take a look here or contact us.