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How to tell your sustainability story

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Your organization may be doing more than others realize to act sustainably. Prioritizing efficiency, buying carbon offsets and choosing renewable energy all demonstrate a commitment to conserving power and addressing environmental pollution. However, customers and stakeholders won’t know about your sustainability efforts if you don’t publicize them. 

Here are seven things your business can do to share your environmental strides with energy. 

 

1. Explain how 

With the proliferation of public sustainability commitments, stakeholders and customers want to know exactly how organizations plan to make good on their promises. Most sustainability goals fall into three broad categories – waste, water and energy. Report how you plan to make your goals a reality. When it comes to energy, installing more efficient lights and appliances, offsetting your power usage and purchasing renewable energy are all ways to mitigate your business’ environmental impact. 


2. Keep it simple 

Clearly communicate your claims in terms your customers and stakeholders can understand. For example, since 2019, Direct Energy Renewable Services helped customers offset 12,906,172 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of taking 2,529,499 vehicles off the road for one year. There are great, free online resources from the EPA and others that convert energy metrics and carbon dioxide emissions into everyday equivalencies like this.


3. Share green wins often

Many organizations publish an annual sustainability report. Consider sharing incremental progress more than once a year as environmental goals are a continual work in progress. Build key data points into executive communications and quarterly reports. Consider using digital communication channels like your website and social media platforms to celebrate incremental progress, present layers of information and create a dialogue with stakeholders. You can also weave your sustainability story into press releases, speaking panels and conferences. 


4. Disclose your impact

Publish your progress toward commitments. Quality documentation is the most important part of sharing your solutions and demonstrating your contribution. Be sure to consult key stakeholders and industry experts to establish credible, consistent messaging about your direct impact. 


5. Check your claims 

Make sure you choose suppliers and service providers with high sustainability standards. Organizations responding to an audit or complying with LEED building requirements need credible, certified supply. All renewable energy options are not equally credible. For example, Green-e Energy is the nation's leading independent certification and verification program for renewable energy. The Green-e logo verifies that the specific type of renewable energy purchased was generated and properly retired on your behalf. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission also has Green Guides to verify environmental marketing claims.


6. Be accountable

There’s often pressure to hit very public targets. However, be honest even if you fall short. Allow customers to see your progress. People are wary of greenwashing – when companies claim to be doing more to protect the environment than they actually are. A company’s reputation will suffer if it is found to make false claims or overstate progress. Engage customers through honest disclosure. That honesty is what connects people to brands, builds equity and enhances business. 


7. Make it relevant

Explain how sustainability creates value for your shareholders, employees, customers and the planet. Describe where sustainability fits into your broader business strategy and contextualize it in ways people can understand.

Whether you are working on a year-end review or outlining your goals for next year, reflecting on and sharing your progress can go a long way to engage, motivate and inspire your customers and employees.

For more information about how to make a sustainable impact, check out our renewable energy solutions.

 

 

Posted: October 29, 2020

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