Quite simply, communicating sustainability requires a concrete, long-term plan. Roadmap or milestone plan, dear child has many names. Therefore, this article focuses more on sustainability and the journey behind it, as you obviously can’t do green marketing without knowing about sustainability holistically.
The methods and goals you can work with are many, so we try to give a general overview that will hopefully guide you in the right direction. Employee or owner is, for that matter, secondary. The article should inspire and increase your understanding regardless of your position.
What do you get out of this article?
- If you are already well on your way to sustainability, this is a good summary for you
- Introduction to the tools and methods you can and should use to start the sustainability journey itself, sustainability concepts and why it comes before green marketing
- Why sustainability comes first and marketing and communication second
Most importantly, you genuinely want to work on sustainability because it’s the right thing to do. Not because you can make money from it or use it in your marketing. These are just secondary bonuses. Moreover, if there is no sincere motivation behind it, all your stakeholders will see through your untrustworthiness faster than you can spell SDGs.
Let’s get started with the article which can be a bit heavy. We’ve done our best to keep it short and to the point, so you can get a taste and then dive deeper into the topics yourself.
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
For many, the SDGs are the foundation and start of the sustainable journey. Whether you are a company, a country or a voluntary organisation. That’s why it’s obviously one of the most important tools you can use in your work.
The UN SDGs consist of 17 concrete goals and 169 sub-goals that entered into force on. 1 January 2016 and which it is hoped will be achieved by its deadline in 2030. The goals commit all UN member states to work towards the eradication of poverty and hunger (in the world), the reduction of inequality, ensuring better health and quality education, decent jobs and more sustainable economic growth. With so many goals, it can be hard to know where to start.
Let’s hear from Alfix how and which SDGs they have chosen to address in depth.
So which SDGs should you choose? As Alfix, you can start by looking at where you as a company can make a real difference and reap the low-hanging fruit. Not all SDGs are relevant to your company, and it is important to understand which SDGs are actually relevant. To read up on the different SDGs, see source 1.
That said, your company should work on all SDGs over time.
Didn’t we just say you should pick the most relevant ones? Jo. To start with. But over time, all SDGs should be part of your milestone plan.
After you’ve identified the global goals where your company can make a difference here and now, we come to the next step: find out where your interests lie. As Alfix has done, we suggest you bring everyone in the company into these considerations. If your employees have had a say in what goals you are working towards, they will also be more likely to help and participate in the sustainable journey you are on, and thus become green ambassadors.
Your customers are also an important consideration to bear in mind: Where do your customers’ interests lie and what will give you a better image in their eyes?
Let’s go to the next method or tool if you will: ESG.
Environmental, sustainability, governmental (ESG)
Generally speaking, the SDGs are said to apply to all organisations, private and public, with the ESGs being aimed more at companies. Both complement each other very well.
ESG stands for environmental, social and (corporate) governance, and is a tool used to give companies a picture of their non-financial data. The ESGs cover important (material) information about the company’s overall impact on the environment, climate and society, as well as the (overall) governance of the company.
In other words, planet, people and profit, the three different bottom lines, are part of the ESGs.
But why are ESGs important for companies?
Legislation is constantly changing as more and more attention is paid to the environment, the climate, society and the current world situation in general.
The result is that when banks, investors and analysts assess a company’s ability to create value and its long-term growth prospects, they look more at the other bottom lines (people and planet). In this context also whether the company has a milestone plan for ESGs as well as SDGs for the next 10+ years.
In conclusion, this whole ESG thing can feel like an uncommonly large size. It is! However, you will have to start no matter what if your business is to survive.
Start in one place. Have a milestone plan, also called a roadmap. Take it seriously and see it as a tool to develop and ensure your company’s survival as well as competitiveness.
Let’s go to the next method or tool if you like: life cycle assessment (LCA) and environmental product declarations (EPD)
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)
We can’t get around data. For banks, investors, government agencies, customers and others to see how well you are doing, they need to measure something. This is where the next step comes in:
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the alpha omega when dealing with products. Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are also used in this context.
In short, the aim is to map how much and where on the journey your product emits greenhouse gases. In order to make EPDs, you need to make LCAs, as the latter look at your whole value chain from start to finish. Best case, of course, would be that there is neither a beginning nor an end, as your product’s ultimate goal is to be 100% circular. Something we’ll hopefully have a lot more of in the near future, so we go from having waste to resources.
The importance of EPDs and LCAs only increases as political pressure and legislation force companies to map and communicate the carbon impact of their products. That’s why if you have physical products, whether you’re a designer, manufacturer, supplier, carrier or retailer, you can’t go wrong.
In conclusion, greenhouse gas data is just one thing to measure. Social responsibility, biodiversity and environmental impact are also ways to get data. Something we strongly recommend you explore, so you get something concrete to improve your company’s sustainability efforts holistically.
Green House Gasses (GHG) | scope 1 + 2 + 3
When we talk about mapping greenhouse gases in the company, data is one thing. Another thing is the division, so that everything becomes a little more manageable. One divides into three sizes or scopes:
- Scope 1
is about your direct impact. It could be machines in your production.
- Scope 2
deals with indirect impacts from, for example, your production. This could be electricity, water and heat used by your machinery.
- Scope 3
looks a little further down the value chain, and dives into how much your suppliers emit in CO2 as well as environmental impact. Could be suppliers who provide something for your products that your machines produce.
Generally speaking, scopes 1 + 2 are often the “easy” ones, whereas scope 3 is a bit more complicated, as it deals with many different parts of the big cog and value chain. For example, your suppliers. Often, therefore, it’s a cog you have very little control over. Fortunately, you can create some very valuable partnerships in the process, for example with your suppliers. Something a company like Alfix is a good example of.
More knowledge you can immerse yourself in
We hope this article has inspired you. Yes, it’s a lot of things, but it’s about taking one thing at a time and putting a plan in place.
Get more inspiration to start your sustainable journey as well as know sustainability if you want to communicate green from Alfix a/s in our online Green Marketing video course, which is free for the first 200 participants (value 9.500).
Register at Grønmarketing.dk