by Gregg LaBar

December 8, 2014

Sustainability has the Three Ps: People, Planet and Profit (or Prosperity).

I’d like to suggest that sustainability communications has Three Rs: Research, Reporting and Reinforcement.

1) Research

Research includes external benchmarking, internal audit of current activities, materiality assessment and stakeholder engagement evaluation.

2) Reporting

The Reporting process includes content and theme brainstorming, content gathering, writing, design, project planning and management, printing and/or programming, and launch – with consideration also given to reporting against current standards and pursuing external assurance. It’s not unusual for the reporting process to take four to six months or more out of every yearly reporting cycle.

3) Reinforcement

Reinforcement involves regular storytelling with a content strategy that engages all stakeholders and uses all media, including your website, social media, media relations, employee communications and investor messaging.

It is possible and sometimes necessary for all three elements to be in play simultaneously. On the other hand, if you’re just getting started, the Research stage is a critical first step, and that alone can take four to six months.

The Three Ps have helped organizations get their arms around sustainability. “Reduce, reuse, recycle” reminds people to cut down on waste. Here’s hoping that my Three Rs – Research, Reporting and Reinforcement – will help organizations embrace sustainability communications.

Where are you on these Three Rs? Any additional steps you would add? We’d love your input.

Want to talk more about this? We have a process to assess the Three Rs that we’d love to share with you – the time is on us.