Sustainable Communications

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The George Washington University offers students the skills to plan and execute effective sustainability communications through its online Master’s in Strategic Public Relations.

Social media outreach

Many companies use social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to share their corporate sustainability efforts. One particular effort is by Lush Cosmetics, a U.K.-based cosmetics retailer. In addition to sharing their environmental policies on their website, Lush posts frequent videos on social media channels to show how they make their products and where the ingredients come from, in addition to promoting their cruelty-free initiatives and Charity Pot lotion, which donates proceeds to various charities.

Corporate responsibility reporting

Transparent sustainability reporting is not reserved for companies targeting a socially conscious millennial audience. KPMG reported that 78 percent of the world’s largest companies believe they should report their corporate responsibility information to their investors.
Businesses are reporting their CR initiatives in many different types of mediums, from video storytelling to interactive reports. One example of exceptional sustainability reporting comes from Patagonia. This organization’s Footprint Chronicles features an interactive map that shows where products come from and what types of facilities create them. Another effort for transparency comes from Starbucks, whose website includes a corporate responsibility section that provides details regarding the company’s social and environmental impacts on farming communities and manufacturing sites.

It pays to be sustainable

According to the American Marketing Association, 57 percent of consumers choose to buy or boycott brands based on their social, political and environmental stances. Another 65 percent said they would not buy products from a brand that stayed silent on an important topic. Companies that publicize their sustainability efforts in effective ways can build a sense of consumer trust that converts to a loyal audience.

Transparent companies have the numbers to back up this notion. Lush Cosmetics had a revenue growth of 26 percent from the fiscal year of 2016 and 2017. Starbucks experienced an increase in revenue of 11.5 percent from July 2017 to July 2018. Patagonia has reached sales above $700 million, an astounding number for a retailer.

Corporate stock performance is also directly linked to sustainability communications. The Harvard Business Review reported that 80 percent of corporate responsibility studies have linked CR methods to increase stock performance. It isn’t just the consumers that are pleased; investors are clearly impressed with these communication practices.

To learn more about corporate sustainability reporting strategies, take a look at our infographic, or visit GW’s Master’s in Strategic Public Relations online program to learn more.

Sustainable Communications Infographic

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