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What’s Your Sustainability Story? The 10-step CSR formula

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Presented at GREENBUILD MEXICO 2018

What’s Your Sustainability Story? The 10-step CSR formula

The world’s most sustainable companies are the most profitable; and they make environmental and social responsibly a priority.
Lyft is looking to sustainability as a market differentiator away from Uber
Nike turns to sustainability to drive innovation
Unilever’s sustainable brands grow 50% faster than the rest of the business
In May 2018, WeWork hired their first Head of Sustainabilty

Differentiate your startup or business by incorporating a well-told sustainability story. By doing so, get the attention of investors, gain PR, attract the best employees, and position yourself for the future.

Published in: Marketing
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What’s Your Sustainability Story? The 10-step CSR formula

  1. 1. Philip Beere, LEED AP, MBA G-COMM www.g-comm.co
  2. 2. Objectives Conversatio n Debate Action Improvemen t Awareness Level 200 Understanding/Comprehen
  3. 3. Dangers of a sustainability story ①Invites critics ②Maybe perceived as political ③A knowledge gap between you and your customer ④Perceived as an added expense the customer pays for ⑤‘That green stuff’ may alienate some
  4. 4. www.g-comm.co/mx18story
  5. 5. www.g-comm.co/mx18story
  6. 6. www.g-comm.co/mx18story
  7. 7. Before getting started: what this presentation is ①Telling great sustainability stories starts with a sustainability plan. ②The best stories attract community, employees, customers, and media. ③Proven formula based on 40 interviews and research. ④Bootstrapping — same rules apply to small or large business. ⑤Strategies to silence critics and boost your brand. Resources: g-comm/mx18story
  8. 8. www.g-comm.co/mx18story
  9. 9. www.g-comm.co/mx18story
  10. 10. #mx18story @philip_james_b
  11. 11. o Remodeled first LEED-Gold home in the United States o LEED AP, MBA o Hometown is Napa, CA Clients include builders, universities, cities, and B2B: Corporate Startups Builders
  12. 12. #mx18story @philip_james_b I craft sustainability stories that: ①Silence the critics ②Reinforce the company narrative ③Support business objectives ④Boost your brand = create opportunities ⑤Inspire web design graphic design case studies PRbranding
  13. 13. Benefits of a good sustainability story Attract/Retain the best employees Employee engagement → connect to greater purpose Innovation Brand value → attract customers and investors Reputational resilience → crisis mitigation
  14. 14. Consumer skepticism Damage reputation Lose trust Dilute other claims
  15. 15. TODAY 3 Rules the Best Sustainability Marketers Follow 5 Sustainability Marketing Pitfalls 10 Points to Success
  16. 16. What is your company type?
  17. 17. Sustainability in the DNA Integrated into Business Traditional (no plan) What kind of company are you?
  18. 18. DNA Characteristics:  Written in by-laws  Stated in mission  B Corp  Marketing is A+
  19. 19. Integrated into Business Characteristics:  Measure  Reporting is A+  Transparent  Social policies  Barron’s or Rankings
  20. 20. United States 18 France 15 United Kingdom 10 Brazil 5 Finland 5 Sweden 5 Integrated into Business
  21. 21. ①No sustainability plan or CSR ②They sometimes are selling a ‘green’ product, and confuse it with their overall mission ③They highlight awards or a green rating ④They use words like, ‘Save the Planet’, ‘Change the World’, ‘Good for the Planet’, ‘Revolution’ ⑤Often use ‘eco’ stock images and ‘eco’colors, and make unsupported claims. Traditional
  22. 22. The 3 Keys to a Successful Story
  23. 23. Look Inward Look Outward 10 Point Checklist 3 keys to success
  24. 24. ① Start with why – align vision and mission with purpose ② Must come from CEO ③ Commit to sustainability metrics & standards, and reporting & transparency ④ Engage employees ⑤ Commit to CSR Why CEO Transparency CSR Employees Look Inward
  25. 25. Why CEO Transparency CSR Employees
  26. 26. To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time. Why CEO Transparency CSR Employees
  27. 27. "To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.” *If you have a body, you are an athlete Why CEO Transparency CSR Employees
  28. 28. Adding vitality to life. Meeting everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene, and personal care. Helping people feel good, look good, and get more out of life. Why CEO Transparency CSR Employees
  29. 29. Why CEO Transparency CSR Employees “At our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.”
  30. 30. Why CEO Transparency CSR Employees “to inspire and guide others toward better communications related to sustainability, resulting in business improvement.”
  31. 31. Why CEO Transparency CSR Employees “It usually comes from the personal resolution of a CEO to create a more sustainable company. In general, top-level executives have the ability to create an enterprise-wide vision and the clout to see that it is realized. Without this commitment, becoming a sustainable company is a nonstarter.” Robert Eccles Harvard Business School
  32. 32. Why CEO Transparency CSR Employees “As a CEO, I don’t think I can be credible without walking the walk, at the end of the day, the company’s commitment to sustainability starts with the CEO.” Benno Dorer, CEO Clorox
  33. 33. Why CEO Transparency CSR Employees
  34. 34. “What gets measured gets managed.” Peter Drucker Why CEO Transparency CSR Employees
  35. 35. Why CEO Transparency CSR Employees
  36. 36. ‘impact-washing’ Using the language of the SDGs without actually making any changes. If a company claims allegiance to the goals, they should be able to report on the outcomes of their commitment.
  37. 37. ‘green hiding’ In a few sectors, and it is particularly true for luxury, companies would like to avoid the scourge of criticism. For communicators, the most widely shared feeling is that there are more attacks to be feared than benefits to be expected when you put forward this progressive approach.
  38. 38. Why CEO Transparency CSR Employees  Purpose-led brands  Shared values (CSV)  Brand activism  Corporate Responsibility  Social Impact  Activism Corporate Social Responsibility
  39. 39. Why CEO Transparency CSR Employees Look Inward “By putting purpose at the heart of our brands we can move from marketing to consumers to mattering to people. Purpose- led brands will drive growth for our business, connect us with our consumers and deliver a positive social impact.” Keith Weed, Unilever Chief Marketing & Communications Officer
  40. 40. Why CEO Transparency CSR Employees Look Inward • Unilever’s new brand managers, for example, spend a week on a sustainability marketing challenge. • Tech companies can gain a leg up in the competition for top talent and ensure that their workers remain happy with their jobs by integrating corporate social responsibility into company culture.
  41. 41. Why CEO Transparency CSR Employees The failure to engage middle managers can doom a sustainability effort. MIT Sloan Summary Findings From the Sustainability Global Executive Studies
  42. 42. Why CEO Transparency CSR Employees
  43. 43. Look Inward Look Outward 10 Point Checklist Look Outward
  44. 44. ① Customer demographic ② Get feedback from focus groups and surveys. ③ Engage stakeholders ④ Look upstream: supply-chain ⑤ Collaborate: NGO and competitors Demographic Feedback Stakeholders Upstream NGO Look Outward
  45. 45. Demographic Feedback Stakeholders Upstream NGO
  46. 46. Demographic Feedback Stakeholders Upstream NGO Look Outward Our research showed that while few customers use the term ‘sustainability’, there are many sustainability issues that connect with what customers really care about. Four common themes emerged strongly from our research and have guided the update to our strategy.
  47. 47. Demographic Feedback Stakeholders Upstream NGO CAUTION To give back more than we take. Sustainability Responsiblity
  48. 48. Demographic Feedback Stakeholder Upstream NGO
  49. 49. Demographic Feedback Stakeholders Upstream NGO
  50. 50. Demographic Feedback Stakeholders Upstream NGO
  51. 51. Demographic Feedback Stakeholders Upstream NGO
  52. 52. Demographic Feedback Stakeholders Upstream NGO
  53. 53. Look Inward Look Outward 10 Point Checklist10 Point Checklist
  54. 54. ①Start with Why ②CEO directed – vision ③Measure – Metrics – Ratings ④Look upstream: supply chain ⑤NGO’s ⑥Lingo and branding ⑦Report – Transparent ⑧Employee engagement ⑨CSR ⑩Tell great stories Why CEO Measure Upstream NGO Lingo and branding Report Employees CSR Tell stories 10 Point Checklist Case Study
  55. 55. 1. Make others the hero 2. Speak to audience (no knowledge gaps) 3. Simple 4. Imagery 5. CTA → call to action
  56. 56. "decades, our company has been the industry leader.” "Our product solves problems, reduces costs, and increases revenue.” "We are personally committed to providing the best service."
  57. 57. www.g-comm.co/mx18story
  58. 58. 10 Point Checklist Case Study patagonia.co m
  59. 59. “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” Why CEO Measure Upstream NGO Lingo and branding Report Employees CSR Tell stories
  60. 60. Why CEO Measure Upstream NGO Lingo and branding Report Employees CSR Tell stories "Who are businesses really responsible to? Their customers? Shareholders? Employees? We would argue that it's none of the above. Fundamentally, businesses are responsible to their resource base. Without a healthy environment there are no shareholders, no employees, no customers and no business.” Yvon Chouinard, Founder, Patagonia
  61. 61. Why CEO Measure Upstream NGO Lingo and branding Report Employees CSR Tell stories “If the people working for me believe that we do things to make the world better, to make businesses take on a greater responsibility not only to bottom-line profits but also to people and the planet, then that would be the best legacy.” Rose Marcario, CEO, Patagonia
  62. 62. Why CEO Measure Upstream NGO Lingo and branding Report Employees CSR Tell stories  GHG  Energy Use  Water use  Water pollution  Deforestation  Hazardous chemicals  Animal welfare
  63. 63. Why CEO Measure Upstream NGO Lingo and branding Report Employees CSR Tell stories  Child labor  Discrimination  Forced labor  Sexual harassment  Non-compliance with minimum wage  Bribery and corruption  Working time  Occupational health  Responsible sourcing
  64. 64. Why CEO Measure Upstream NGO Lingo and branding Report Employees CSR Tell stories
  65. 65. Why CEO Measure Upstream NGO Lingo and branding Report Employees CSR Tell stories
  66. 66. Why CEO Measure Upstream NGO Lingo and branding Report Employees CSR Tell stories
  67. 67. Why CEO Measure Upstream NGO Lingo and branding Report Employees CSR Tell storieshttp://circulatenews.org/
  68. 68. Why CEO Measure Upstream NGO Lingo and branding Report Employees CSR Tell stories “I know it sounds crazy, but every time I have made a decision that is best for the planet, I have made money. Our customers know that— and they want to be part of that environmental commitment.” Yvon Chouinard, Founder, Patagonia
  69. 69. All told, the compound annual growth rate since the year after Marcario joined as CFO has been 14%, and profits have more than tripled since her arrival.
  70. 70. Why CEO Measure Upstream NGO Lingo and branding Report Employees CSR Tell stories
  71. 71. Why CEO Measure Upstream NGO Lingo and branding Report Employees CSR Tell stories
  72. 72. Why CEO Measure Upstream NGO Lingo and branding Report Employees CSR Tell stories Our work has always begun first by acknowledging that Patagonia is part of the problem. We make products using fossil fuels, built in factories that use water and other resources, create waste and emit carbon into the air. We ship our products around the world in boxes and plastic bags. We consume electricity—some generated using renewable resources and some not—at our corporate offices, distribution centers and stores. We drive cars and ride on airplanes. As individuals, we consume products of all shapes and sizes—probably more than we need.
  73. 73. talk about white elephant
  74. 74. Why CEO Measure Upstream NGO Lingo and branding Report Employees CSR Tell stories Employees from all parts of the company are allowed up to two months away from their regular roles to work for the environmental group of their choice while continuing to earn their paycheck and benefits.
  75. 75. Sustainability engages employees → Engaged employees create sustainable companies
  76. 76. Why CEO Measure Upstream NGO Lingo and branding Report Employees CSR Tell stories
  77. 77. Why CEO Measure Upstream NGO Lingo and branding Report Employees CSR Tell stories
  78. 78. Why CEO Measure Upstream NGO Lingo and branding Report Employees CSR Tell stories “We want to use our stories as a way to provoke other people to not only take action but to inspire others to act as well.” Joy Howard, Patagonia (past) VP Marketing
  79. 79. Why CEO Measure Upstream NGO Lingo and branding Report Employees CSR Tell stories
  80. 80. What about LEED?
  81. 81. What happens when the story is wrong? Case Study
  82. 82. Overstating or exaggerating Not reporting weaknesses No sustainability reporting Wrong words, lingo, or graphics No CSR - wrong story → no NGO Overstating Weaknesses No report Wrong lingo No CSR Avoid 5 Pitfalls
  83. 83. Overstating Weaknesses No report Wrong lingo No CSR
  84. 84. Overstating Weaknesses No report Wrong lingo No CSR
  85. 85. Overstating Weaknesses No report Wrong lingo No CSR
  86. 86. Overstating Weaknesses No report Wrong lingo No CSR o Cost is $10,000 (4 kWh) o Scalable? o Lithium o Degradation o Environmental impact? o Storage capacity o Toxic manufacturing Weakness?
  87. 87. 5 Pitfalls Overstating Weaknesses No report Wrong lingo No CSR
  88. 88. What kind of company? Traditional (no plan) Sustainability in the DNA Integrated into Business Traditional (no plan)
  89. 89. ①No sustainability plan or CSR ②They sometimes are selling a ‘green’ product, and confuse it with their overall mission ③They highlight awards or a green rating ④They use words like, ‘Save the Planet’, ‘Change the World’, ‘Good for the Planet’ ⑤Often use ‘eco’ stock images and ‘eco’colors. They make unsupported claims. ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
  90. 90. sonnen told good stories? What if…
  91. 91. Thank you for hearing my story.
  92. 92. Before Q and A ① Identify your company type and your CEO type ② If you fail the above, default to marketing 101 ③ Sometimes nothing said is best ④ Tell stories, CSR ⑤ Silence the critics with transparency ⑥ Make it easy for your audience: language and graphics ⑦ Connect the dots; audit your message ⑧ SMEs are the future of CSR
  93. 93. What’s your sustainability story?
  94. 94. QA Your name Company Identify your company type?
  95. 95. www.g-comm.co/mx18story
  96. 96. Philip Beere, LEED AP, MBA G-COMM www.g-comm.co philip@g-comm.co #mx18story
  97. 97. Demographic Feedback Stakeholder Upstream NGO
  98. 98. Create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living. Why CEO Transparency CSR Employees
  99. 99. Why CEO Transparency CSR Employees Adam Neumann What company did Adam found before WeWork?
  100. 100. Course Description  Create and Communicate Your Sustainability Story With Maximum Impact.  The 5 Sustainability Marketing Pitfalls to Avoid.  The 3 Rules the Best Sustainability Marketers Follow.
  101. 101. Objectives  Describe how to create a sustainability narrative that is cohesive, credible, and aligns with overall business objectives.  Share the 5 most common sustainability communication pitfalls.  Describe 3 winning tools used by the best sustainability marketers  Share key tools to turn a sustainability story into inbound website traffic, resulting in leads or revenue with effective implementation of Digital Marketing and capture tools. Level 200 – Understanding/Comprehension

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