Sustainability Reporting is Vital for the Future of Business
What are you doing to show that your business cares about your impact?
Right now, there is a scramble for creating marketing pieces that showcase the values and vision of businesses. Your digital feed is probably populated with brands trying to make a stand or show that hey, we swear we always cared about xxx issues, (insert socially relevant stock image with logo). Of course, there are a few brands that aren’t hustling to build a value-driven audience because they have already captured their audience; people who believe (and buy) what they’re being sold because of relevant and consistent marketing and sustainability reporting. They've been building their brand around their values for long enough that when something happens to impact their customers, they know exactly how to speak to them, make their needs feel relevant, and tell them what they are doing as a business to make the world a better place. Unfortunately, most companies are falling flat when it comes to expressing what they're really doing besides trying to make money.
So...What IS Sustainability These Days?
Defining sustainability can be intimidating, but the most accepted definition of sustainable development comes from the UN World Commission on Environment and Development: “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
This definition refers to global sustainable economic development, so companies often build their own definition based on this one, using the supporting pillars of their business’ effects on the economy, environment, society and humans to develop a sustainability report.
Essentially, a sustainability report shows that your business knows both the positive and negative effects it has on the pillars (economic, environmental, societal and humanity), and shows what your company is actively doing to minimize a negative impact on the planet and the people impacted by your day to day operations and long-term goals.
As the foundations of our society continue to reshape and (hopefully) improve, your business has the opportunity to develop long-term habits that will continue to be beneficial to you and your audience through sustainability reporting. Instead of slapping up a picture on social media that speaks to something current, your business can maintain organized integrity and move ahead with bigger actions that make an even greater impact.
Your potential clients are craving authenticity in marketing, and most of them understand the power that their money holds in supporting or ignoring a business. It is important for consumers to see leaders and companies practice what they preach. It’s no longer acceptable to ignore your business’ impacts and contributions to society, either positive or negative.
A benefit of developing a sustainability report gives you the opportunity to demonstrate how your business has changed for the better, measuring progressive and inclusive growth in the communities in which you work.
Often, a sustainability report can be a place where your business can show off what you’ve done to innovate in your field, and what you’ll be doing to continue to push positive changes in the areas that mean the most to your audiences.
Fortunately, there are also a few well-known standard tools that you can use to definite and build-out your company’s sustainability reporting including:
GRI (GRI's Sustainability Reporting Standards)
The United Nations Global Compact (the Communication on Progress)
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO 26000, International Standard for social responsibility)
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises)
If you’re ready to build your marketing strategy based on your business’ values, and would like to learn more about how I can help you create value-driven marketing and sustainability reports for your business, let's connect!