Adding ‘A’ and ‘I’ to ESG: Scripting the Sustainability Story

Focused format-specific messaging with the right communication on the right platform can yield rich sustainability dividends for organisations


Sustainability is now a key business imperative, and its effective communication has emerged as an integral element for its efficacy. Even as organisations are redefining their Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) strategies to align with the larger sustainable development goals, it is equally important to precisely capture and communicate the sustainability journey. Simultaneous with their sustainability roadmap, forward-thinking organisations are charting the communication strategy to convey the sustainability initiatives, goals and results to a diverse range of stakeholders. In fact, communication is being strategically embedded as a key component of the sustainability journey.

A dedicated sustainability communication strategy ensures effective engagement of all stakeholders as well as conveys the organisation’s commitment to a sustainable future. Be it the mandatory annual Business Responsibility Report or the voluntary sustainability initiatives, effective sharing of the best practices can catalyse the sustainability outcomes as well as set the benchmark for replication. A well-documented and well-presented sustainability communique can yield rich dividends for the organisation across the spectrum – from external stakeholders like Government, industry bodies and media, to internal stakeholders like employees and business associates.

Platforms & Formats

At the core of an effective sustainability communication strategy is the maxim of ‘right communication on the right platform’. This entails customising the content as well as design specific to the media platform and the target audience. However, to make ESG narratives more broadbased and appealing, it is necessary to add A (audio-visual content) and I (interactive content).

  •  Annual and Integrated Reports: The mandatory Business Responsibility Report and the periodic white papers present an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on investors as well as government stakeholders. A well-written easy-on-the-eye report is not only a tangible proof of an organisation’s commitment to sustainability, but also a repository of data, case studies and impact stories that can amplify the company’s ESG efforts. However, adding creative visuals and infographics, as well as embedding links to videos will make the ESG narrative more appealing. Digital copies of these reports can be made accessible on official portals and seamlessly distributed to select recipients.
  •  Videos & Podcasts: From reels and short-clips for social media, to explainers for employees, videos have tremendous potential for reach and impact. A sharply edited video with catchy text can work wonders for the visibility of a company’s sustainability efforts. Similarly, a podcast conversation around sustainability initiatives and impact can be an informative as well as engaging communication strategy. Hosting these on the company’s owned platforms will lead to more traffic, increased interactivity and easier accessibility. 
  •  Thought-leadership articles & White papers: Informed, insightful editorials from the senior leadership, published in print or online media, boost the individual’s as well as the company’s reputation as a sustainability champion. From long-form edits for news outlets to short pieces for LinkedIn, there’s much potential for thought-leadership exposure. A well-planned and smartly executed thought-leadership media campaign can create a lasting impression among external as well as internal stakeholders. An additional step of adding imagery, blurbs, creatively executed charts and infographics, will make ESG content more visually attractive.
  •  Digital Newsletters, Blogs & Emailers: Engagement and active participation of employees – the key internal stakeholders – is crucial to the success of any organisation’s sustainability plans. Towards this, a consistent and continuous channel of interaction is a prerequisite. Whether a periodic newsletter, blog or emailer that routinely shares all the sustainability goals and achievements with employees, or a two-way channel like an online employee forum that encourages people feedback and recognises stellar work, these digital formats can be highly effective in engaging stakeholders and thus enhancing the culture of sustainability and good governance.

Assured Impact

A sustained multi-platform, multi-format communication strategy yields assured returns in terms of awareness, implementation and impact. Effective communication of sustainability initiatives not only builds credibility and trust among all stakeholders, but also enhances the organisation’s reputation as an active contributor to the society and the nation.

With investors also laying increasing stress on social responsibility and ESG, focused communication around sustainability and governance builds confidence around the company’s ability to mitigate risks and pursue sustainable growth for a bright future. The key to successful sustainability communication is to leverage the various platforms and formats to deliver a personalised message that resonates with the audience and connects them to the organisation’s sustainability journey. It is worthwhile for ESG communicators to invest in more visual, audio-visual, and interactive forms of content. This requires expertise in ESG as well as content creation, and an agency with experience in ESG communications can be a valuable partner.


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