Sustainability communications: Actions speak louder than words

The best sustainability communications are born directly from your active efforts and the impact you’re having. Not your words and claims. Sure, we need to tell a great story but it needs to be rooted in honesty, humility and authenticity. Below, we explore five principles of effective ‘green’ communications.


We’re all at it. We’re all emitters, every one of us. By admitting this, it kind of sets us free. It recognises that we’re all in it together. It can also eliminate cynicism, which can be the most dangerous reaction from your audience. So be humble. Recognise that you’re a part of the problem and the steps you’re taking might be small, but can still deliver tangible results and positively influence others around you.

Messaging based on proof 

It’s tempting to ‘polish’ the story of your environmental impact with overly emotive claims or even use of unofficial green logos. Don’t do it. Playing fast and loose with the facts does everyone a disservice. It also opens you up to scrutiny from your audience or even worse, regulators. To make sure your claims are fact-based, be sure you connect with an expert to understand and verify the science-based impact you are having. 

Focus on what’s authentic to you

Take a step back from what’s trending in the headlines. Focus on the most relevant issues for your brand or business. Once you’ve done this, identify the areas where you can have the biggest impact. What is the one (or more) thing that you can do to reduce your carbon foot print? It might not be the most glamorous thing but if it has the biggest impact, that’s all that should matter. Your audience will see and appreciate that.   

Adaptive challenges require adaptive solutions 

Don’t treat adaptive challenges like technical problems. Technical problems are largely those that are known and can be solved with existing processes or business-norms. Like surgery by a doctor. In contrast, adaptive challenges such as climate change demand a change of people’s attitudes, values and behaviours. It is critical to understand that a sustainability  agenda will affect the fundamental behaviours of your business. Be comfortable with that. Embrace it. 

In it for the long term

Sustainability is not a marketing campaign. Your efforts shouldn’t be built for a finite amount of time. Sustainability communications is about documenting the journey you are going on. Don’t wait for perfection, just tell your story and be sure to show your progress on the way. In a climate emergency where we are looking to hit Net Zero by 2050, make sure your business or brand are seen as part of the long term solution.