Communicating your sustainability work

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To ensure your stakeholders understand what your business is doing to improve its sustainability, you need to communicate this. This can result in increased engagement among employees and more satisfied customers and partners.

What is important to your customers?

It is important to understand your customers’ views on sustainability, and what is important to them when purchasing your type of service or product? Perhaps you need to educate your customers about what is a good choice? Through close dialogue with your customers you can obtain useful ideas for how to develop the business and how to communicate with them. At the same time you can ensure that your business develops to keep pace with increasing demand from customers.
Read about stakeholder analyses on the page about the business’ own impact LÄNK

Employ “nudging”

One way to strengthen your customer offering can be to make use of “nudging”. Nudging involves influencing customer behaviour in a more sustainable direction. This could include making the most sustainable alternative your standard option, such as a certain dish on a restaurant menu, or placing products that you want customers to notice near the till or entrance. 

Questions to consider

Have you identified what sustainability aspects are most important to your customers?
Do you explain to your customers the ways in which your offering helps in making sustainable choices?
How can you make it easier for your customers to make sustainable choices?
Do you tell your customers what you are planning to do moving forward and what your objectives are?

Links and detailed information

Nudging – A tool to encourage sustainable behaviour?
This report summarises existing knowledge about nudging in different policy contexts and in different countries.
Read the report about nudging – Swedish Environmental Protection Agency
Stiftelsen Svensk Industridesign (SVID) has joined forces with other stakeholders to develop a sustainability guide for product development. It also includes methods for user-centred design.
The sustainability guide on SVID’s website

Image and profile

The “profile” of your business is how you want your business to be perceived, while its “image” is how it is actually perceived. It’s essential that these two are consistent. In order to be credible, a business that sells a sustainable product or service also needs to have a sustainable image and a brand that communicates sustainability.
In order to attract employees, customers and capital, it has become increasingly important to be values-driven, i.e. allow the values of the business to point the way forward. 

Be honest and credible in your communication

Many businesses communicate their sustainability work by explaining the journey ahead of them to accomplish their set goals. In order to be credible, it is essential that sustainability work includes all relevant elements of the business, and goals are taken seriously, with an active approach to accomplishing them. By communicating honestly and credibly you can continue to remain relevant to customers in the future. 

Questions to consider

Can you stand by the sustainability work being done at your business?
Is sustainability a central message in your communication? How credible do your customers consider you to be?
Do you describe to your customers how the business is working on sustainability, for example, on your website, when you meet customers, on social media or via other channels?
Are the business’ choices and aims with regard to sustainability clear to all employees, directors and partners?
Do you know all the facts and can you back up your claims with regard to how sustainable the business’ products or services are?
As digital tools evolve to enable traceability, can you increase the credibility of your communication with even greater clarity in terms of supply chains, transport and content of products and services?
Is there any risk of customers perceiving your business as not genuine in its communication about sustainability work (so-called greenwashing)?

Links and detailed information


Be open about the goals of the business and what it is doing to operate sustainably – this will promote the brand. Let your customers know why you are doing this and why sustainability is important to your business.
Find out more about communication regarding sustainability in SVID’s sustainability guide 

Film: Seven smart tips for sustainable business

Want to be more sustainable? Here are seven specific tips for how to reduce the impact of your business on the environment and society, but also how you can ensure your business concept is long-term, relevant and competitive.

 

Film: Inspiration from two business owners who are incorporating sustainability into their operations

How does sustainable business work in practice? Discover how the company Essem Design incorporates a life cycle perspective, and how the firm RSCUED focuses on circularity with regard to food waste.

This film are in Swedish but you can choose English subtitles. Click on the gear for settings and select Undertexter and then Engelska.

Questions to consider

Questions you can ask yourself in order to get started

All the questions from the sustainability pages are collected here.

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Responsible: Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth

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