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  • Fran 9:11 am on March 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: communication, ,   

    Strong foundations for the SDGs 

    For any company to thrive in a resource-constrained world, the starting points are a robust sustainability strategy based on solid information, and leadership from the top. To build a sound foundation for its strategy, in 2016 the Carlsberg Group carried out research including a water risk assessment with WWF, a materiality matrix alongside BSR and an end-to-end carbon footprint in partnership with the Carbon Trust. These form the springboard for its refreshed sustainability strategy, with ambitious targets to be announced later in 2017.

    The Carlsberg Group wants to use its strategy to be an agent of change. One Stone helped the Group map the four strategic priorities that came out of its materiality process: Energy and carbon, Water, Responsible drinking and Health & Safety, against the most relevant SDGs – 7, 3, 6 and 8. Rather than take a broad-brush approach to the SDGs, we focused on opportunities for change, and identified a specific target within each SDG where the Group can make the most difference.

    Two further goals, SDG 12, Responsible consumption and production, and SDG 17, Partnerships for the goals, feature across the Group’s work. For instance, they are addressed in sustainable packaging innovations such as its bio-based Green Fiber Bottle and in partnership work through the Carlsberg Circular Community. Download the Carlsberg Group’s 2016 Sustainability Report to find out more.

  • Fran 4:40 pm on November 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: communication, , , ,   

    The road to 24/7 transparency 

    On November 9th Forbes announced that transparency will become the most important marketing tool in 2015. It’s a trend the sustainability reporting world has been encouraging for some time, with mixed results.

    Real progress was evident at the recent Ethical Corporation Reporting Summit last week where transparency was the leitmotif for the whole event. So much so that when it came to voting for the best submission in the CSR reporting X factor session, RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) romped home with the prize, trouncing Bloomberg and and British supermarket chain Tesco. RBS’ decisive win is largely down to its disarming mea culpa about past mistakes and honesty around future investigations, enforcements and litigation. As the audience voted and the judge made his pronouncement, a murmur of “how did they get that past the lawyers?” swept the room. RBS proved that with determination and top-level commitment you can, and that honesty is a winning strategy.

    Lisa Stewart picks up the X factor reporting award for RBS

    Lisa Stewart picks up the X factor reporting award for RBS

    But the transparency agenda is moving fast and in contrast to once-a-year disclosure typical of traditional sustainability reporting, demands for greater openness are constant. Indeed Forbes says “Next year the best brands won’t be those with the best stories, or sort of made up fictional stories, but those that will give an accurate and real-time picture of what they are doing in the interest of the consumer, at any given time.” And the same goes for the interests of other stakeholders according Oliver Hurrey, MD at the 2degrees network. Social media is set to play a central role, offering many channels for people to demand the truth and giving companies multi-stranded opportunities for innovative, engaging and honest corporate communications. Welcome to stakeholder dialogue, 21st century style.

    • Fran 6:10 pm on November 19, 2014 Permalink

      Serendipity! See also report from SustainAbility due out December 5th called See Change: How the Future of Transparency can Drive Performance and Value

  • ChristineNT 8:34 pm on October 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: communication,   

    Social media craze making you crazy? 

    In this space, we usually address topics relevant to business but in the realm of sustainability, plus other interesting, environmental and ethical topics. However, as I am currently knee deep in the upgrade and revamping of our website, I can’t see anything else but. (Watch this space! Next time you check in, it may look quite different.)

    In going through this process however, I am coming face to face with the maze and craze of social media. There are the titans; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and all manner of blogs but also Digg, Flickr, YouTube, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, MySpace, and a whole host of other sharing tools. And for those over a certain age but still below another one, there is the standard website too. To be present in one seems not to be enough anymore. It is important to be seen in many to be successful. (One Stone “Tweets,” “Facebooks” and is “LinkedIn” now too.)

    As a small consulting firm though, it’s enough to manage the day-to-day work of assisting companies with their sustainability strategies, sustainability reporting and things like GRI standards, trend mapping and materiality. But now it’s important to maintain and be active online as well—to be involved in the virtual conversation. (There, I used the word.) And, this is what can make one crazy.

    As the name implies, social media is not meant to be one way. We have something to say but we also want to listen and learn. We benefit from conversation about the issues. At the end of the day, in this field, the goal is a more just and responsible corporate world—one where transparency and responsibility are part and parcel of doing business. Sharing information will help us to achieve this.

    So, join in the conversation: our conversation. Come visit our interactive spaces, take part or simply read one of our thought-provoking blog posts. And do let us know what you think. What works for you? Where do you do your chatting? Where else should we be present? And, how do you fit it all in?

    We look forward to hearing from you.

  • Amy 9:09 am on April 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: communication, , environment, ,   

    Putting the fun in sustainability 

    When was the last time you heard the word “fun” associated with “sustainability,” “green,” or “environmental”? More importantly, when was the last time you experienced a sense of fun doing what everyone tells you is the “right thing” to do, like recycling, turning down the heat, or taking the train instead of a flight? No, “fun” is not the first word that comes to mind when you heave that bag of old newspapers into the recycling bin, no matter how virtuous you may feel. Because, frankly, the messages around sustainability—from governments, to NGOs to companies to media—are all too often about ecological gloom and doom, about giving up our selfish lifestyles to save the planet. Why would people embrace this concept with open arms when  it seems far less desirable  than any number of other activities you might be doing?

    A UK-based organization called Global Cool seems to have cracked this gloom-and-doom approach by getting people to act in a way that is good for sustainability and the environment, without ever mentioning those words—by making the actions themselves fun. Global Cool is aimed at that sizeable part of the population which is “outer directed,” driven by needing the esteem and respect of other people, and outward symbols of success, those who devour fashion, music, celebrities, the latest trends and who are heavy users of social networks.  Global Cool seems to have been enormously successful judging from their results.

    Wearing fashionable woolies supported by celebrity designers and models got Brits to turn their heat down (it’s good for your skin, too); “traincations” talk about the fun of travelling by train (real cutlery! room to stretch your legs!), and public transport gets a boost not by talking about climate footprint but by sharing videos of bands who love buses and great pick-up lines. Just the other day my Global Cool subscription popped up on my smartphone with an article entitled, “The secrets to a summer of sun and sex.” You bet I clicked it open. The post made me laugh and then, at the very end, there was a gentle reminder to “do it in public,” (oh right, use public transport).

    Companies could take a lesson or two from Global Cool. For one, the people at Global Cool don’t presuppose that people are interested in climate or the environment. When they “sell” green behaviors and lifestyle choices, it’s all about highlighting the benefit to the individual. They don’t preach. They don’t tell you to do it because you should. Most companies today recognize that getting consumers or customers to act based on their sustainability communication is a very tough nut to crack. A couple have even taken a lead from the NGOs and charities and started “campaign” websites. Marks & Spencer’s Plan A is one example. It’s all well and good to set out 180 commitments to achieve by 2015, “with the ultimate goal of becoming the world’s sustainable major retailer.” But then Plan A gets stuck with that fatal motto, “Doing the right thing.” The website doesn’t do enough to engage Marks & Spencer’s customers in Plan A, to make it sound fun. Similarly, Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, talks about consumers wanting “reassurance that the products they buy are ethically sourced and protect the earth’s natural resources” without giving them enough opportunity to jump right in, have fun, and get every one of their friends to chose this living plan, too. Aside from the requisite icons for signing up to a Facebook page or checking out a YouTube video, there is little effort to engage their consumers.

    Maybe a little less effort and a bit more subtlety is the way to go, if you want your customers to think that what you do—and sell—is fun. It worked for Volkswagen.

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