A major component of any corporate sustainability plan isn’t so much how a company carries out those strategies but also how it communicates it to its many stakeholders. There is an emerging role of social media for stakeholder engagement and for businesses to communicate their broader corporate responsibility agenda. Within our sustainability consulting, we've discovered that social media executed successfully, can be a powerful vehicle to build sustainable business communications by engaging with stakeholders.
Within our business sustainability consulting practice, it's not uncommon to encounter those executives that say sustainability is too hard, too resource intensive, or that it's a passing trend. With big aspirations, 3 years ago Taiga Company set out with the intention of writing 2 blog post each day to dispel the myth that sustainability and living a sustainable lifestyle is hard. Blogging is sort of like writing an essay. Imagine writing 2 essays, every week day, in addition to your regular workload, the requirements of your personal life, sick or not sick, holiday or not holiday, vacation or no vacation…you get the picture.
There are ups and downs in life and there are easy days and harder days. While it's easy to be green or execute sustainable business strategies when things are good, most fall short when the challenges increase. The intention of writing 2 blog post each weekday is a living example that you do the best you can with what you've got. Some post are great. Others, not so great. But, the posts demonstrate the commitment to sustainability regardless of the ebbs and flows of life. And, it demonstrates that sustainability isn't all or nothing. Short story: we all can take eco action daily and we don't have to be perfect about how we do it.
So what about blogging for a sustainable purpose? How can it build a better green business? To have an impact in communicating the sustainability business strategies of your business or consulting firm, it's not required that you blog as frequently. However, there are benefits to blogging. Blogging on sustainability related topics offers a host of benefits: insights to new, fresh perspectives of sustainability; a resource for tools, services, white papers; and more importantly, how your business is leading in the sustainability space. Social media and blogging can help build better green businesses and here's why:
- As consumers, employees, businesses, communities, and non government organizations increasingly question business actions on climate change, they want to see transparent, more credible information on the responsible actions companies are taking to addressing their social and environmental impacts. A corporate blogging program executed successfully can be a powerful vehicle to build sustainable business communications by engaging with stakeholders.
- The use of social media collaboration technologies can help organizations break down silos and facilitate knowledge sharing across business units and corporate functions. The Information Week article, What Enterprise Social Success Stories Have In Common, examines the adaptation of social tools and strategies into today’s business improvement efforts. Contrasting the limited success of simple external tool implementation, the true differentiators are implementing social media strategies with purpose.
- Social media can make CSR more visible. "A Reputation Institute 2011 survey found that a company’s CSR program (in its broadest sense), can be responsible for more than 40% of a company’s reputation, whilst companies with stronger social leadership programs have 55% better internal morale and 43% more efficient business processes."
- Social media has an emerging role in knowledge management. Creating bridges between the corporate world and its stakeholders, social media closes the gap on knowledge management and business intelligence. Specifically so if sustainable communications and performance is valued by your stakeholders. Social media for sustainability communications has become a risk or an opportunity. Monitoring, listening, and dialoguing with key stakeholder in the social space not only offers a competitive advantage but also provides other key ingredients for successful social media engagement.
Sustainability and social media together offer a refreshing and innovative approach to business. Beyond the more familiar and tradition business value drivers of out-bound CSR communication or internal stakeholder engagement, our sustainability consulting explores some of the lesser known but equally viable social avenues to value.
- Engaging consumers in growth markets
- Focusing interactions around ethical finance
- Accessing concerns and opportunities to address shareholder value
The propagation of sustainable information to effectively communicate business sustainability successes is becoming a more active dialog. The biggest contribution anyone can make in the sustainability space is to share, communicate, and inspire others by living the example of how sustainability works in your life or business. Blogging and the use of social media as a sustainable purpose is a vehicle that offers a communication channel so others can learn from your eco actions and discover the value of sustainability for themselves.