What is Sustainability vs. ESG Communication?


Climate change is an issue that many companies take seriously. For that reason, many companies are developing ESG (environmental, social, and governance) goals to combat the challenge. Also, consumer behavior and trends incline towards brands with sustainable and green policies.

Sustainability marketing is now a priority for every branding and PR agency. They use new methods to help their clients develop a PR strategy aligning with their CSR motives. Because of this, brands are changing their operations to improve their image in front of their investors and employees.

Many are amidst the decision-making process on choosing between sustainability communication and ESG. So what are sustainability and ESG communication? Which one is more suitable for your organization? We will discuss all those things in this article.

What Does Sustainability Communication Mean?

The idea behind sustainability communication is to use a strategy to incorporate sustainable changes into your business operations. Sustainability communication enables companies to inform their clients, employees, and other stakeholders about their business operations.

It highlights the business’s efforts and initiatives toward a sustainable approach. With the help of sustainability communication, business keeps their clients, investors, and employees up-to-date about their CSR and commitments.

One of the main reasons businesses go for this approach is to cultivate a strong brand image. They can show how they are working towards building a sustainable environment within their organizations and achieving their commitments.

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People will also connect with you since they can see your contribution to social motives. It lures customers and investors to your businesses keen to support sustainability. They can get an insight into your operations to build credibility among various stakeholders.

What Does ESG Communication Mean?

ESG comprises environmental, social, and governance factors that define your approach and standards. One crucial difference between ESG and sustainability communications is the intended audience. Sustainability communications focus on all business stakeholders, including employees, customers, etc.

On the other hand, ESG communication tends to focus more on the investors. This communication method includes a structure that shows the company’s ethical process and how they impact the climate. Let’s break down ESG by focusing on each of its elements.

Environmental (E)

The environmental factor emphasizes the company’s practices and their impact on the climate. It tells about the company’s business operations and how they can mitigate the risks to the environment.

Social (S)

The social part is about the business’s relations with the community they are operating. It discusses the company’s relationship with various social groups, including the government.

Governance (G)

Lastly, the governance element relates to the company’s internal policies and matters. It tells about the company’s approach towards different stakeholders, such as employees and clients.

The ESG factors are vital in the decision-making process of investors that want sustainable and environmentally friendly companies in their portfolio. This practice is known as responsible investing, and many investors are now taking this approach.

Not just solo investors or assets managers but investment companies are also changing their investment strategies. Therefore, companies encourage sustainability marketing to showcase their efforts to potential investors.

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How to Make ESG Communication Better?

ESG communications allow you to target investors that want to support companies with sustainable goals. Therefore, you should leave no stones unturned to ensure you make ESG communications better. Here are some tips to help you out with it.

  • It is important to highlight how your CSR activities are helping the climate. Your reports should have relevant stats and findings to back your claims.
  • Your company should have a powerful story that can captivate others. It should be unique and honest to foster investor relations.
  • Lastly, it is best to prioritize virtual events and other ways online to build a strong reputation for your CSR initiatives.

How to Make Sustainability Communication Better?

It is equally important to keep all the stakeholders up-to-date about your CSR and sustainability communication. You can use the following tips to help you make sustainability communication better.

  • You should keep it simple and have a concise scope regarding your sustainability efforts and initiatives.
  • Try to tell stories in a way that connects with other people.
  • Make it easy for people to understand your long and complex sustainability ideas.
  • Be honest with your shareholders about your CSR efforts and how you are working on them.
  • Ensure your sustainability goals align with your mission and vision.

Which Communication Should the Companies Pursue?

Many companies want to know if they should pursue sustainability communication or ESG. The best answer is that you should choose depending on your target audience. Sustainability communication targets all stakeholders, whereas the ESG only focuses on potential investors.

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Therefore, if you want to gain the investors’ attention, you can present them with an authentic ESG communication profile. Sustainability communication is helpful to tell about the company’s CSR initiatives and how they are working with their team and other stakeholders to fulfill their responsibility regarding climate change.

ESG and sustainability go side by side to stand up to the investors’ expectations while increasing engagement with other stakeholders.

Final Thoughts

Using the right communication strategy is vital, depending on your target audience. One important thing to keep in mind is that you need to be honest regarding your sustainability goals and measures.

It would help if you also used your marketing and communication tools to deliver the message effectively. Marketing plays an imperative role in shaping your business’s sustainable communication image. Therefore, you should plan a strategy before communicating it to your investors or other stakeholders.