by Vincent Dorsey

April 22, 2021

Last week, my colleague Gregg LaBar, who leads Dix & Eaton’s sustainability/ESG practice, was a panelist on a webinar focused on understanding the current environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure and reporting landscape in the U.S. and globally. The webinar was sponsored by The Worldcom Public Relations Group, a global network of PR agency partners of which Dix & Eaton is a member.

In celebration of Earth Day, I am excited to share three takeaways from the webinar that will help you create authentic, engaging sustainability/ESG communications that resonate with your stakeholders.

1. Take a Holistic Approach to Identifying Your Audience

As with any communication, defining your target audience should be a key first step. In ESG/sustainability communications, alignment with your key stakeholders, as you define them and as they identify with you, is critical. Be sure to involve subject matter experts from across your organization to gain a comprehensive understanding of stakeholder needs and interests. When possible, contact external stakeholders to learn more about them and secure their engagement.

If you have a holistic view of sustainability and ESG as well as compelling content to share, you should assume a wide variety of stakeholders – investors, customers, employees (current, past and prospective), partners, competitors and more – will be interested.

2. It’s All About the Journey

Every organization’s sustainability journey, and thus, its story, is unique. That truth should be embraced and reflected within your communications. Aligning your reporting to industry frameworks and standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) lends credence and uniformity to your efforts, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

There is no shame in not having all the answers in an early report. This is a journey and you can talk about that in a thoughtful and measured way. Being transparent about your areas of challenge – and authentically discussing how you are addressing them – is important.

3. Develop Metrics, Document Progress

Sustainability/ESG communications are driven by both storytelling and metrics. When sharing data, be sure to give your audience a frame of reference – share where you started, where you’re at today and where you’re striving to be at a defined point in the future.

It’s never too early or too late to begin sharing (or enhancing) your organization’s sustainability/ESG story. The field is constantly evolving, with frameworks and standards regularly updated to reflect current realities. Your opportunity may be closer than you think.

Inspired to contribute to a better tomorrow for all this Earth Day? Reach out to learn how we can partner together on communicating your organization’s sustainability journey.

To learn more about our work in this area, see our sustainability communications capabilities.