In recent days, we’ve seen a number of reminders that sustainability/ESG will continue to be a defining topic for businesses. Most notably, 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg delivered a fiery speech at a September 23 appearance at the United Nations Climate Action Summit. Perhaps because it’s unusual for a teenager to emerge as a global spokesperson, her speech attracted widespread media attention.
Why Sustainability/ESG Is a Hot-Button Topic
Sustainability/ESG is a huge topic that shapes the agenda for businesses across multiple industries. Our own blog posts reflect the urgency of this topic. For example, in July, we discussed how sustainability dominated the agenda at the IR Society 2019 Annual Conference. Businesses are responding by ramping up the public conversation about how they are embracing sustainability/ESG. For instance, just days ago, Amazon announced it will meet the emission-reduction goals of the Paris Agreement 10 years early.
But there’s more to Amazon’s announcement. Amazon did something important: the company challenged others to climb aboard. The Amazon “Climate Pledge” urges signatories to be net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040, which would make them also reach an important sustainability goal 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement’s goal of 2050. Per Amazon, companies that sign Climate Pledge agree to:
- “Measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis.
- Implement decarbonization strategies in line with the Paris Agreement through real business changes and innovations, including efficiency improvements, renewable energy, materials reductions, and other carbon emission elimination strategies.
- Neutralize any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially-beneficial offsets to achieve net zero annual carbon emissions by 2040.”
Amazon Shows Communications Leadership
Amazon’s Climate Pledge shows leadership from a communications standpoint. The company:
- Announced the news widely through PR.
- Used its own website as a platform to launch the initiative and to remind visitors about other efforts Amazon has made to embrace sustainability.
- Made sure the Investor Relations of its website featured the news.
- Relied on CEO and founder Jeff Bezos to lead the charge. As he said in a press release on the IR section of the company’s website, “We’re done being in the middle of the herd on this issue—we’ve decided to use our size and scale to make a difference.”
Amazon has good reason to use its brand visibility to tell its story. As Edelman reported in its 2018 Earned Brand study, 64 percent of consumers around the world will buy or boycott a brand solely because of its position on a social or political issue, an increase of 13 percent over 2017.
Contact Investis Digital
Amazon is not alone. Investis Digital works with many businesses to design and implement communications strategies to share what they are doing to build a sustainable future. Our clients typically understand why they need to be more sustainable and how to do it. But they need help explaining what they are doing in a compelling way.
As we discuss on our website, we combine strategic insight with original ideas to create a sustainability narrative that’s relevant and compelling for each of the audiences your work affects. A story that goes beyond policies and performance, unlocking awareness, affinity, and action across every stakeholder group.
Now more than ever businesses need to tell their stories. Contact Investis Digital to tell yours.