Fortunately, the Australian business community has its eyes wide open to the climate challenge. According to a global Deloitte report, 81 percent of Australian business leaders believe climate change will negatively impact their operations.
This is more in line with community demand for climate action, and it is now an imperative for businesses to place societal responsibility at the heart of their strategies.
Speaking at an online forum organised by Trans-Tasman Business Circle, Jon Briskin, Executive General Manager of Retail at Origin Energy, said this imperative is being driven by skyrocketing customer demand for environmentally-responsible brands.
“Customers clearly want to purchase from brands they trust, and that they believe will do the right thing for the planet,” he said. “This change in customer sentiment is not linear. It is absolutely exponential, and it’s just taking off now.”
Here are five things you can do to help tell your brand’s decarbonisation story:
1. Be authentic
Authenticity is critical to creating the brand trust consumers are craving. And that means implementing genuine and measurable steps to decarbonise your business, with transparent Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting.
“Tangible ESG objectives and outcomes are far more important than they have ever been,” Briskin explained. “We all saw the green washing of brands, and a lot of that gets called out now. Customers see through it. You need to express proof points that show how you stand behind your brand promise.”
2. Get certified
Briskin said that obtaining proper certifications is important to building transparency and trust.
At The Growth Activists, for example, we help companies achieve BCorp certification that demonstrates the business adheres to the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance.
3. Tell your story
You’ve done the work, now you need to tell your story. But when it comes to sustainability, there is no finish line. The bar keeps getting higher and higher, and you need to continuously engage with your customers to keep telling the story of your brand’s on-going decarbonisation.
This storytelling needs to happen at the individual customer and at the community level. At The Growth Activists we assist businesses to craft those narratives with credibility and authenticity. We also enable their employees to share those stories with confidence, which is critical for truly powerful activation of their ESG efforts.
4. Engage with the individual
You need to make your decarbonisation story part of your customers’ day-to-day lives. This will keep the conversation going, and position your brand as part of your customers’ personal sustainability efforts.
“For example, at Origin Energy our ‘Spike’ initiative allows customers to earn rewards when they reduce their energy use in peak demand periods,” Briskin said.
5. Engage with the community
You need to tell your decarbonisation story at a community level too. For example, Octopus Energy in the UK purchased community-based wind generation assets, and offered discounts to local residents whenever the turbines were spinning.
“Within a couple of weeks they had 800 communities across the UK asking if they could join the Octopus Fan Club and get those wind generation assets in their communities too,” Briskin said.
But it all depends on authentic actions, measurable outcomes and transparent proof points. Make a real ESG commitment, measure and prove it by adopting credible impact-measurement standards or by undertaking BCorp certification, then engage your customers and their communities with continuous storytelling.
The Growth Activists are experienced B Consultants. We’re here to support organisations through the complex B Corp certification process with the right advice for your business. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help.