Mastering your ESG Communications - Part 3

29 July 2022 | 5 min read | ESG
Clearly Team

Hello again. Thanks for sticking with us. So far you’ve heard about whether your target audience cares or not about your ESG policy and how it positively benefits both the environment and society, and you gained an insight into the best ways to communicate all the great things that you’re doing without fear of being accused of green or purpose-washing. In this final video of the ESG communication series, you’re going to find out what difference this will make to you and your business, both from a reputation perspective and the business’s bottom line itself.

But before we get started, let’s have a quick recap of what we’ve covered so far. In the video before last, you saw how ESG has graduated from being a nice-to-have to a business imperative over the last 18 months. This, we discussed, is driven in part by a cultural shift among clients and customers whose decisions over which product or service provider they engage are increasingly being influenced by what the business is doing for the greater good.

It is also in part due to, sadly, many businesses simply jumping on the ESG bandwagon. The research shows that over the last year or so, those businesses with a clear purpose outperform those who don’t have one at all and consequently, part of the rise in ESG is the desire to use sustainability as a vehicle for growth, and it’s up to you to determine if that is right or not.

Then in the previous video you got great clarity, I hope, on the most effective ways to communicate the great things that you are doing as a business to operate more sustainably and socially consciously, too. More important, how to do so in a way that makes it impossible for critics to ever accuse you of green or purpose-watching simply by communicating and focusing on the impact that your initiatives are having.

Now, to look at the impact of all of this on you as a business and to see what ROI can be generated. Well, there are two key areas where businesses benefit greatly from having a sound ESG proposition and comms strategy in place: reputation, and revenue. Let’s start with revenue. Hey, we’re all running businesses and the reality is that we should never shy away from the fact that profits must come before people and planet, because without it, we simply cannot do any good in the first place.

A good, strong ESG proposition helps businesses tap into new revenue streams and we’re proof positive of this. Clearly, ourselves as a business, became a certified B-Corporation in 2021, and this status tipped the balance in our favour when we secured a new client. The now client liked the fact that although they didn’t have an ESG policy in place themselves, knowing that 2% of every invoice they pay goes directly to ESG initiatives made them feel good about working with us. Made us a good fit.

When on the procurement and tender trail, businesses are increasingly being measured on their ESG performance, as much as the financial performance. Do well in both areas then the business’s bottom line will benefit, too. Then there’s the network effect. Take, for example, the B-Corp community, it’s a very close-knit one.

You’ll often see businesses offer their products and services to other B-Corp members at a specially reduced rate and equally, they are more inclined to refer businesses to other B-Corps, and this can be a great extension to your existing lead gen efforts. Your people will also be buoyed like never before when you have a strong ESG proposition. A plethora of research shows that this can – does – boost employee motivation.

This in turn boosts productivity, which is reflected in outputs and subsequent income streams – and it doesn’t stop there. Because people are happier in their work, staff retention levels rise and the business itself becomes regarded as an employer of choice. This sees a rise in speculative applications and employee referrals, which means that your recruitment and marketing budgets and cost per hire will then fall, again positively impacting the bottom line.

As for your reputation, well it’s pretty obvious. By saying you do X and Y for people on planet and are able to demonstrate proof of your actions on their impact, the perception of your business as a provider of choice is massively enhanced. You will see other businesses gravitate towards you. They may not have a need to engage and do business with you the here and now, but later on they might and they will call upon you when that need arises.

That could serve as an arm-length ambassador for you, and refer those within their own network who have a need for what you offer, and they’re doing so because it positively reflects on them as well. By recommending a business that has a great ESG proposition in place, the referrer, by default, creates an impression of themselves as someone who is also environmentally and socially conscious about who they choose to do business with. It’s called social proof.

So, there we are. A sound ESG proposition, communicated correctly, results in a boost to your organisation’s reputation and a boost to your bottom line. The question left to answer is, are you ready to get on with the getting on with it? Thanks for watching. It has been my hope that this series of videos will provide you with hints, tips and insights that will help you make better informed decisions on how to execute your ESG policy in a way that benefits, well, everyone.