Sustainability communication – Reaching the goal with strategy
Every beginning is complex
The issue of sustainability is becoming a significant parameter for companies in terms of their future viability. The EU directive on mandatory CSR reporting and implementation of suitable sustainability strategies to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C – in line with the Paris Agreement – are adding to the pressures on corporate management. According to our experience and despite the expected profound impact on every area of the company, SMEs are currently often still at a relatively early stage of the change process.
When we talk about the impact on every area of the company, this is exactly what we mean. A promising sustainability strategy and its implementation involve the entire infrastructure as well as sales and marketing, production, and communication with all internal and external target groups. In fact, the latter is often why clients approach us in initial discussions on the topic. It is believed that current and potential future customers, the applicant market as well as investors and suppliers need to be informed asap that the company is operating at the cutting edge, and is playing a leading or at least an active role in the market in terms of sustainability.
Step by step
A danger however is that it is easy to lose sight of the high level of complexity of the topic through this campaign-driven approach. Far beyond the need for communication, it is at first much more important to determine the actual state of knowledge and needs of the company, and to then use this to leverage potential for sustainable business model development and a communication strategy.
A good basic framework is provided by our three-phased approach:
- The identification of potential for business model development, taking into account approaches and solution tools stemming from digitalisation and sustainability
- SWOT analysis and evaluation against the potential of digitalisation and sustainability
- Developing a strategic sustainability roadmap and anchoring it or merging it with the corporate strategy
Transparency in all aspects
Customers, employees and clients want transparency regarding working and production conditions, and they expect manufacturers and service providers to actively assume social responsibility. This is why sustainability communication has become an integral aspect of the corporate strategy. It is part of a new stakeholder-oriented management style: Showing how the company behaves in all areas and implements sustainable measures – openly and authentically. In upcoming articles on this topic, you will find out how important the interplay of digital transformation is in the context of global social developments and what role closer collaboration with international partners, associated consultants and universities plays.