1 . Keep it simple, don’t use jargon– how do you translate your approach to sustainability into everyday language?
Customers may not understand the word ‘biodiversity’ but they would understand ‘protecting nature and animals’
2 . Focus on the customer benefit– what does it mean to me?
The progress you are making on a key issue e.g. organic milk needs to be framed in terms of what it means for your customer e.g. does it deliver them with reputational benefit or a communications opportunity or contribute to their sustainability reporting?
3 . Talk about the issues that make sense for your brand- where can you have the biggest impact?
Talking about the issues that are directly related to your business and product show that you are focusing your efforts and energy on the areas where you could have the biggest social, environmental and economic impact.
4 . Shape the debate, don’t simply add to the noise – what’s your unique point of view?
For example, there is a lot of debate around plastics in the media and the public sphere. If this issue is relevant to your business, what is your stance and what makes that worth communicating to customers?
5 . You don’t need to go it alone– can your customers become partners for change?
Many of your impacts will involve your customers e.g. the packaging they require a product to come in. Partnering with your customers to improve the sustainability of your shared activities can not only deliver a bigger impact but also build relationships beyond business transactions.
6 . Bring customers along on your journey– can you share your work in progress sooner?
Wanting to give customers the best impression of your business is natural, but sharing your work in progress can demonstrate transparency, lead to collaboration and show that you are already thinking about upcoming important issues.
7 . Back it up with data and proof points– what impact are you having?
Communicating about sustainability is an opportunity to demonstrate what your business is actually doing on the ground on a topic and to build your credibility with customers. It also avoids greenwash, which carries reputational risk.