In a candid conversation, Mette Fossum delves deep into the realm of sustainable communication. She shares her experiences from the industry, her perspective on the topic, and provides some insightful advice. This blog post is derived from a transcript of that conversation.
Why Sustainable Communication Matters
Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword—it has become an integral part of most businesses. Whether it’s battling climate change or promoting social fairness, businesses have come to understand the role they play in world sustainability. However, the challenge lies in effectively conveying these efforts and intentions. Mette Fossum, a partner and general manager at Sustainability, provides a detailed breakdown of the intricacies involved in sustainable communication.
The Journey Towards Sustainable Communication
Over the years, as Ms. Fossum recalls, businesses have transitioned from glossing over sustainability efforts with embellished stories and pretty pictures to now focusing on data and facts. What spurred this change? Capital markets and regulatory authorities pressed for more sustainable investments, leading to the development of standards for sustainability reporting. This new trend in sustainable communication demands transparency, authenticity, and a detailed accounting of the actions taken towards achieving sustainability goals.
The Art of Sustainable Communication
Ms. Fossum emphasises the necessity for companies to shed light on their sustainability work within reports and governance documents. She noted the importance of setting quantifiable goals, tracking progress, and explaining any shortcomings. And while stories and narratives can enhance a company’s sustainability image, Fossum stresses that operators must substantiate these claims with hard data and fact-checked results.
Despite this, many companies encounter some pitfalls in communicating their sustainability efforts. According to Fossum, a significant obstacle is the lack of in-depth understanding of sustainability that prevents companies from fully committing to and being transparent about their sustainability efforts. To conquer this hurdle, she advocates for companies to invest time and effort in comprehending this field, enabling them to speak and act with confidence about their sustainability initiatives.
Successful Sustainable Communication
Ms. Fossum shares inspiring stories of companies that are not only talking about sustainability but are actively making significant strides towards it. For instance, Rana Gruber, a mining company, has pledged to make its iron ore product fossil-free by 2025 – a monumental task considering the size and power consumption of their machinery.
In a rapidly-changing world, businesses need to adapt and evolve. As regulations tighten and customers become more conscious of societal issues, companies will need to ensure their communications align with their actions. But, as Ms. Fossum explains, understanding and speaking about sustainability is no longer optional. Companies need to do the work, implement sustainable practices and only then communicate their efforts to the world.
In the end, Ms. Fossum leaves us with a powerful message: the world is changing, and the way we communicate about sustainability needs to change with it. The most effective way forward is to do the work, know it effectively, and then communicate about it. And in the grand scheme of things, this is how companies would contribute towards a sustainable planet.
Listen to the full episode below (in Norwegian)