At Taiga Company, we think of the current status of business sustainability communications in 2016 as a fledgling bird, still harbored in its roost but teetering at the edge of the nest ready to take flight.
In the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) / Sustainability world, businesses often rely heavily on corporate sustainability reports to communicate their social, environmental, governance, and philanthropic activity to stakeholders. However, research shows that a sustainability report does not adequately engage the public. Referencing a study conducted by the Global Reporting Index (GRI), the Guardian reported that the majority of sustainability report readers don’t see the report as an engagement strategy, but simply as an “account of performance.” This is ironic because 57% of report writers surveyed believe engaging with stakeholders is one of the top three reasons for sustainability reporting.
While sustainability reporting is continually being improved to be more engaging and interactive, there is another way for companies to connect with their stakeholders — social media! The nonprofit and corporate philanthropy support platform, FrontStream, estimates that 2016 will see a sharp increase in social media sustainability reporting. As of 2014, 273 companies already had some of their social media activities dedicated to sustainability. And that number has steadily increased from 2011.
Social media channels are being used more and more for sustainability engagement because they are specifically designed for social interaction. In today’s world, sustainability reporting is more than just environmental performance data, volunteer hours served, and money donated. Sustainability reporting is becoming more of a social conversation with stakeholders that want to engage with companies around sustainability efforts. And these kinds of conversations drive impact for companies as well.
Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR study found that, “Consumers consistently see social media as an important way to learn, voice their opinions and speak directly to companies around CSR issues, especially in developing countries where usage skyrockets.” With an increasing number of interested people, businesses, and nonprofits looking to take part in the sustainability dialogue, business can capitalize on the positive branding if they partake.
At Taiga Company, we are helping companies leave the nest when it comes to engagement around sustainability and CSR on the social web. If you want to join the conversation, sign up for a free 15 minute consultation with a social media consultant today!