In this guest post, Rosanna Iacono (pictured below), managing partner and advisor at The Growth Activists, offers three top tips to ensure your brand is on brand when it comes to climate…
After ranking last for climate policy among more than 60 nations, the Australian government’s climate change performance was widely slammed at the recent UN COP26 summit.
Fortunately, the Australian business community has its eyes wide open to the climate challenge. According to a global Deloitte report, 81 percent of Australian business leaders believe climate change will negatively impact their operations. This is more in line with community demand for climate action, and it is now an imperative for businesses to place societal responsibility at the heart of their strategies.
Speaking at an online forum organised by Trans-Tasman Business Circle, Jon Briskin, Executive General Manager of Retail at Origin Energy, said this imperative is being driven by skyrocketing customer demand for environmentally-responsible brands.
“Customers clearly want to purchase from brands they trust, and that they believe will do the right thing for the planet,” he said. “This change in customer sentiment is not linear. It is absolutely exponential, and it’s just taking off now.”
Here are three things you can do to help tell your brand’s decarbonisation story:
Authenticity is critical to creating the brand trust consumers are craving. And that means implementing genuine and measurable steps to decarbonise your business, with transparent Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting.
“Tangible ESG objectives and outcomes are far more important than they have ever been,” Briskin explained. “We all saw the green washing of brands, and a lot of that gets called out now. Customers see through it. You need to express proof points that show how you stand behind your brand promise.”
Obtaining proper certifications is important to building transparency and trust. For example, BCorp certification demonstrates that a business adheres to the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, with a focus on balancing profit and purpose. BCorps are accelerating a global culture shift and refining what success means in business, building a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
Certification isn’t an easy task, with the process often taking over a year of significant preparation. This includes creating in-depth implementation roadmaps to meet B Corp’s standards. There is help available – B Lab trained ‘B Consultants’ such as those at The Growth Activists, can make the journey less overwhelming by managing the process from start to finish. A B Corp certification is not the end goal, it is the beginning of a journey towards becoming a more sustainable and profitable business.
Tell your story
You’ve done the work, now you need to tell your story. But when it comes to sustainability, there is no finish line. The bar keeps getting higher and higher, and you need to continuously engage with your customers to keep telling the story of your brand’s on-going decarbonisation.
This storytelling needs to happen at the individual customer and at the community level. Businesses need to craft those narratives with credibility and authenticity. This will also enable employees to share those stories with confidence, which is critical for truly powerful activation of their ESG efforts.
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