Apart from the Swedish consultancy H&H, there isn’t too much focus on identifying the best web communicators on sustainability issues. Perhaps that’s one reason why performance is so spotty – nobody’s paid sufficient attention.
And thus there’s also no way to seek out the superior communicators – it’s entirely hit and miss. When patrolling through web sites that are part of the holdings of the environmental investing mutual fund Portfolio21, it was truly surprising how few of these sustainability leaders had taken the time at their web sites to clearly present data and results to their shareholders.
This makes the companies that do a satisfactory job shine even brighter.
Seventh Generation is far and away the best communicator I found. This company has really taken to heart the idea that the home page is a key branding tool. Judicious and smart use of video, flash animation, and links to coupons provide a satisfying user experience, and the home page contains a fount of knowledge such as “Ask Science Man.” The innovative, crowd-sourcing online book documenting people’s innovative CSR work should be copied by other companies.
That’s not yet happening, so in the meantime, a company such as InterfaceFLOR (which is selling more into the B-2-B vein than directly to consumers) looks pretty good. The site maintains a good balance between branding the flooring and branding the company’s ethical values. The site uses a blog effectively, with video, to communicate company values, and links to Interface’s plan to be “oil free by 2020″ are subtle but effective.
At this point in the maturation of companies’ approach to web communications, this is about all it takes to do a good job – a highly visible link to CSR reports or other company communications, a blog or note from the leadership about why the company has these values, and a bit of eye candy containing some hint of the product or service’s sustainability attributes. Is that so hard?
Apparently it is, because you won’t find it very often. Car-sharing service ZipCar gets my nod, as does the electric-car infrastructure behemoth Better Place. Beyond that, good examples of stellar sustainability communications are hard, way too hard, to find.
Share your examples (and also how you found them).