Telling your GREEN Story for Sustainability Success

Posted Apr 22nd, 2014 in Internal Communications, Public Relations, Sustainability, Strategic Communications

Telling Green StoryCommunication is key to a successful sustainability strategy. "Know it, Be it, Tell it" is the mantra of an effective green story.

On Earth Day each year people all across our country celebrate our planet earth.  The hope is that it will bring awareness and action to the importance of taking care of our planet -  today, and throughout the year.  Today is easy to be GREEN because everyone is doing it; the hard part is keeping the momentum going throughout the year.

For organizations that have implemented sustainability as part of their business strategy, it is important that these goals and objectives be adopted by those within the organization.

Communicating your Sustainability Strategy 

  1. A clear understanding of why the organization has implemented these sustainability initiatives must be communicated throughout the organization.
  2. Words must be put into action.
  3. Employees must understand how they can support these programs.  They need clear expectations, and an opportunity to make suggestions and give feedback.  This will create a culture where GREEN will be second nature to them.
  4. There must be a leadership team put in place to champion, monitor and respond to feedback.

The steps to telling your Green Story

1. Know WHY sustainability is important 

  • Enhanced Brand 

  • Employee Attraction / Retention

  • Cost Savings (Energy, Human Resources, etc.)

  • Risk Mitigation

  • Regulatory Compliance

Case Studies - Unilever's sustainability program saves $395M since 2008 , Five Ways to Convince Your CFO that Sustainability Pays

Know WHAT you can do to put GREEN into action

  • Carbon Footprint reduction strategy - such as Niagara Sustainability Initiative 's Carbon Project

  • Employee Programs - such as recycling programs, incentives to ride your bicycle/walk/carpool to work, health programs

  • Community Projects - such as employee volunteering for clean up day/community garden , donate to a food bank / housing project, etc

Know WHO plays a role in your green story

  • There are writers & directors  - organization leaders, managers, regulatory bodies
  • There are players - everyone within the organization, suppliers, etc.
  • There are broadcasters - media, PR & marketing department, employees (your best ambassadors)
  • There are the stage hands - those who have a supporting role to help you in your efforts i.e. Niagara Sustainability Initiative

Know HOW to tell your story for the greatest impact

  • Do the unexpected - Be awesome
  • Get to the point - keep it simple and succinct
  • Emotions - when it gets to the heart of the reader, it will be will be remembered
  • Timely
  • Relevant
  • Truthful - no green-washing allowed

In February, I had the opportunity to lead a communication workshop for Niagara Sustainability Initiative members on the topic of TELLING YOUR GREEN STORY. You can find an article here with some key takeaways from the presentation, written by Lila Karolak (NSI).  The following is the slideshow presentation.  

Is sustainability important to your organization?

If you are interested in a workshop on Communicating Sustainability for your company or organization, please contact me for more information.

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