How do you stay authentic when you’re at the start of your sustainability journey?

It can be a daunting position for a company to admit that it is only just beginning its sustainability journey, but everyone has to start somewhere. The most important thing is striving for progress over perfection and committing to authentic communications.

Authenticity is crucial for all companies – from garnering consumer trust and loyalty, to building brand credibility and preserving company longevity.

Communicating honestly can have huge benefits for your company and pave the way for better ESG communications going forward – especially as increasingly more companies will need to start reporting against certain frameworks in the future.

Luckily, our team of expert copywriters at Flag has got you covered, putting together their top tips on how to communicate your efforts authentically.


Top tips for staying authentic in sustainability comms

Make a genuine commitment. Authenticity should begin with a genuine commitment to improving your sustainability efforts. Rather than a mere marketing tactic or jumping on the buzzword of sustainability, companies should believe in the cause and understand the role they play in building a more sustainable future.

Avoid overstating. When you exaggerate claims, achievements or capabilities without supporting them with evidence, it can lead to misinformation and potential disappointment for stakeholders. By accurately portraying your company’s current position, it can prevent disillusionment and reinforce stakeholder trust. It also sets achievable expectations which can assist stakeholders in making informed decisions based on accurate information.

NO greenwashing. Greenwashing to make your company’s sustainability efforts seem better is never a good idea, whether it’s through explicit language or subtle implications. The truth always comes out in the end, potentially landing your company with financial, legal and reputational issues. Authentic efforts towards sustainability are what really resonates with consumers, fostering long-term trust and loyalty.

Be honest about the starting point. Don’t exclude data (eg emissions, gender representation, etc) because it doesn’t tell a positive story. Instead, highlight awareness of any issues and use the data as an opportunity to lay out the steps being taken to improve.

Establish your voice. Spend time thinking about developing sustainability key messaging, brand and tone of voice. Once these are established, it can act as a strong framework for any future ESG communications. This enhances cohesiveness between communications and will help ESG efforts come across as strategic and interconnected.

Prioritise what matters. When determining your ESG communications, check in with a wide range of stakeholders to understand their ESG priorities. This will give as broad a view as possible and can make sure that the ESG communications address the issues that actually matter.

Acknowledge that this is a work in progress. Sustainability is a journey, not a destination. A company’s sustainability strategy needs to factor in ever-changing regulation and be adaptable to this. Authenticity is built over time through consistent actions, clear communication and a genuine desire to make a positive impact on people and the planet.


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