Independent agency Sefiani Communications Group today launched its second thought leadership report in the Communication that Matters Series, “Embedding sustainability into your narrative: risk, readiness and opportunity”, revealing the main challenges that hold businesses back from communicating about their sustainability goals and actions and provides a practical framework to help overcome them.
Sefiani’s managing director, Mandy Galmes said: “Commitment to action on climate change is one of the most significant and positive reputational steps an organisation or government can take. As we have seen play out recently in Australia, leaders with a strong and authentic voice on sustainability in its full meaning are more highly regarded by the community, by industry and their global peers.
“Organisations and leaders have been held back by a fear of how much to say, how far to go and how bold to be when it comes to communicating their sustainability commitments. However, by being transparent, communicating progress honestly and demonstrating to stakeholders that sustainability is genuinely aligned to business strategy they provide stakeholders with certainty and stability which in turn drives business performance and public confidence.”
The Sefiani report combines insights gathered from in-depth interviews with local and global communication leaders, global best practice case examples and Sefiani’s own experience supporting sustainability marketing and communication activities for global and local organisations.
Sefiani’s research uncovered three key challenges faced by businesses:
- Sustainability remains siloed: More than two thirds of interviewees believed that most companies did not have an overarching vision for their sustainability commitments. Sustainability sits within individual brands or departments inside organisations. Few organisations have managed to elevate conversations to an overarching narrative that is meaningful to all their stakeholders – from employees, customers, investors and partners to the wider community and government.
- Employees want more say: 76 per cent of employees want more opportunity to shape sustainability strategy. Employees want more opportunities to take part in their companies’ sustainability conversations and have meaningful roles that support the development and delivery of sustainability initiatives.
- Leaders need to be courageous: Almost 80 per cent of interviewees said the number one trait of sustainability leadership is integrity. Leaders today are more visible than ever before, but fear is holding organisations and their leaders back from saying anything meaningful or memorable. The leaders that commit to change, stand up, answer the tough questions honestly and inspire stakeholders to come on the sustainability journey will be the ones to stand out.
Julia Hoy, Sefiani’s sustainability lead, said: “The pressure is now on businesses to step up and transparently and authentically communicate their sustainability commitments and planned trajectory.
“The role of communicators is being recognised as vital to the success of a sustainability strategy because effective communication can inform, inspire, engage, shift mindsets, and equip people with the skills they need to be part of the change as we move towards a more sustainable future.”
The report is the latest in Sefiani’s Communication that Matter series and was co-authored by Nicole Thurston, Sefiani’s strategy and creative director along with Mandy Galmes, Julia Hoy and Georgia Bennett.
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