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Sustainability
Communications

The terminology related to sustainability can be confusing. Let AOE help you define your sustainability efforts in a clear and understandable manner.

"Sustainable." "Green." "Low carbon footprint." It’s easy for clients to get confused about how these terms relate to your products or services.

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When it comes to ESG, sustainability and your organization's carbon footprint, it's crucial to define what you are doing and why. Once you've nailed that down, the next step is communicating that information.


AOE can help you craft an approach so your audience will understand your sustainability offerings and then help you effectively market your message.

Misunderstandings about what sustainability is shouldn’t happen. AOE helps you communicate your information about how a lower carbon footprint can be achieved.


Just like any other marketing tactic, sustainability is a message that must have a strategy. AOE can ensure your message is correctly communicated through social media, website information and e-newsletters.


The challenge comes in successfully communicating how you can contribute to lowering their carbon footprint. Sustainability can take on many different meanings and misinformation is rampant. It’s important that your message of what you offer is clear.

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Sustainability Communications

As an active member of the industries we serve, AOE has committed to becoming an expert in the topics we communicate about and that includes sustainability. In addition to securing the Envision Sustainability certification designation, AOE is committed to staying on the cutting-edge of the trends related to this topic so we can aid our clients in their communications efforts.

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Key Resources

What is sustainability?

Sustainability can take on many different meanings and overlap in many areas of your organization. In general, sustainability refers to using a resource so that it is not depleted or permanently damaged. In a broader context, it is often broken down into three pillars: environmental, economic and social, also known informally as planet, profits and people. Sustainability encompasses operating your business in a manner that safeguards the long-term health and vitality of both the natural world and human communities.

Knowing this, your message must be about how your organization manages sustainability in various areas. What are you doing? Where do your employees, your clients and your community fit in?

To show your organization's commitment to sustainability, you need a plan that may include:

Reducing greenhouse glass emissions. Sustainable practices, such as using renewable energy sources, enhancing energy efficiency in buildings, and using materials with lower carbon emissions can significantly lower the carbon footprint.

Using water resources efficiently and responsibly. Your organization can incorporate water-saving technologies and manage stormwater onsite to prevent pollution.

Having a safety culture dedicated to sustainability. Prioritizing the well-being of employees, the community and the environment is rooted in a commitment to safe operations, hazard elimination and a proactive approach to risk management, which in turn supports long-term continuity for your business and societal welfare.

Creating diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces. These practices focus on providing fair opportunities, fostering a sense of belonging, and valuing diverse perspectives, which drives innovation and reflects your social responsibility.

Employee health and wellness are critical. By ensuring workers' physical and mental health are prioritized, you not only support your most valuable asset—your employees—but also improve productivity and job satisfaction, which contributes to a sustainable workforce and society.

Form a robust crisis response. Your organization must be able to address emergencies swiftly and effectively – from natural disasters to economic turmoil. Effective crisis management helps protect the environment, stakeholder interests, and the organization's reputation, all of which are integral to sustainable business practices.

Engagement in community service and philanthropic efforts. By contributing to community well-being through service and donations, your organization can drive positive change and bolster the social fabric of the areas they operate in.

Leadership is the linchpin of sustainability. Influential leaders foster a vision and culture where sustainability is woven into the fabric of the organization's operations. Your commitment to best practices, strategic investment and stakeholder engagement leads your organization toward sustainable growth and operation.

Ethics and compliance in sustainability. Conducting your business with integrity and following legal standards and best practices ensures that it responsibly manages the environmental impacts, social commitments and governance processes to build trust among stakeholders and maintain a license to operate.

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) data is crucial. ESG allows your business to measure, understand and communicate its performance in various sustainability aspects. Tracking and reporting ESG data supports transparency and informs decision-making processes that align with sustainability benchmarks and regulations. It's also an insight for investors about an organization's long-term viability and commitment to managing non-financial risks.

Being intentional with your sustainability efforts (and the way you communicate these efforts to your audiences) isn’t simply good for the environment, it could be good for business. Knowing what to say and how to communicate it should be part of your sustainability plan. If the concept of corporate sustainability or using ESG data is new to you or if you’re not quite sure where you stand, AOE can help you get started.

What is sustainability?
What is sustainable communication?

What is sustainability communication?

Sustainability communication is defined as an organization’s commitment to speaking candidly about its sustainability strategy, goals and efforts. The challenge comes in successfully communicating how you are contributing to lowering your carbon footprint and being more sustainable as an organization.

Just like any other marketing tactic, sustainability is a message that must have a strategy. This is an ongoing conversation with your employees, clients, the general public and other invested parties. It’s important to let these groups know what your organization is doing and how they can be involved. Transparency will build trust. People don’t need to see perfection, they need to see effort.

AOE has vast experience and proven success in the area of sustainability corporate communications and ESG data. We can ensure your message is correctly communicated through social media, website information and e-newsletters.

How can communication help promote sustainable development?

How can communication help promote sustainable development?

Communication can promote sustainable development by opening up a dialogue and fostering an environment where everyone involved in the organization can grow and learn about sustainability.

 

You may be wondering why sustainability communication is necessary. What is obvious to you may be news to others. Isn’t the public aware of the steps your company is taking to promote environmental awareness, as well as attending to social and leadership issues? Don’t they know your company is taking steps, even such as reducing our use of fossil fuels? In short… no! They don’t know unless you tell them.

 

​Another reason sustainability communications is important is that employees want to work for companies that pay attention to sustainability. Investors, owners, the government and clients alike are all asking about it: What is your organization doing for the environment? If the answer is nothing or “I don’t know,” then these groups are going to move along to a competitor who is confidently advertising their sustainability efforts.

 

​You can’t assume that the public, your clients, or even your employees (or prospective employees) are aware of the steps your organization is taking on its sustainability journey, or your hopes or expectations for them in their role as it connects to your brand.  Do they understand your goals and why they are important?

 

​When you make sustainability communication a priority, you can get everyone well-informed and on the same page. Through a thoughtfully worded e-newsletter, you can let your clients and community know about the steps you are taking to reach your sustainability goals at your company. By posting information on your website, you can let the public know about the steps you are taking. Through making an effort to communicate, you’ve opened up the dialogue and strengthened the sense of community. Sustainability is a journey that we’re all in together.

Communication can promote sustainable development by motivating those involved in your organization to rise to the challenge and meet community/organization sustainability goals as well as personal goals for one’s own sustainability journey. We can make a difference by being open, transparent and sharing our goals and ideas.

AOE is poised to assist you in communicating your sustainability efforts through a variety of tactics including updating sustainability information on your website, writing social media about your efforts to reduce low-carbon emissions, and sending out e-newsletters about your latest updates on your journey to sustainability. When you work with AOE, you can be confident that you are receiving the latest and greatest information and expertise when it comes to sustainability communications.

 

 We are proud to have secured the Envision Sustainability certification designation. As an active member of the industries we serve, AOE has committed to becoming an expert in the topics we communicate about and that includes sustainability. We frequent conferences to learn the most updated best practices related to design and sustainability. AOE is committed to staying on the cutting-edge of the trends related to this topic so we can aid our clients in their communications efforts.

How can we educate employees on sustainability?

How can we educate employees on sustainability?

Getting employees on board with (and excited about!) your efforts is a crucial part of your success. When it comes to sustainability in the workplace, we can’t tell you what to do, but we can give suggestions for how you can talk about it. As aforementioned, your sustainability corporate communications need to be an ongoing effort.

To ensure that your internal sustainability communication is utilized in the best method possible, here are some key steps:

  • Work with professional communicators. Have writers and designers bring the data together in a professional-looking brochure, video and/or on your website.

  • Be visual. Have the designer create charts and infographics will ensure that the final data is communicated in the best method possible and is easy to understand. Also, make sure the brochure follows all corporate branding.

  • Distribute the information to employees. Email, social media, brochures - there are several ways to communicate. (See strategies below.)

  • Don’t forget your website. Whether it is your company’s policies; workplace health and safety; sustainability; diversity, equity and inclusion; or other topics, the information can be in as much depth as needed for the website.

Strategies to impart sustainability information:

  • Website updates

  • Social media – Facebook, LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, YouTube or other mediums

  • E-newsletters

  • Campaigns

  • Brochures

In terms of content, typical information includes:

  • Sustainability

  • Greenhouse gas emissions

  • Water consumption

  • Safety culture

  • Diversity, equity and inclusion

  • Employee health and wellness

  • Crisis Response

  • Community service/philanthropy

  • Leadership

  • Ethics and compliance

  • Risk Management

Why is sustainability communication important?

When it comes to getting people on board with sustainability, communicating value is key. You must ensure that target audiences understand what it means to be environmentally responsible and what steps are being taken in your sustainability journey. Clients and customers may be aware of the concept but may not be well informed. How does any misunderstanding and lack of information about sustainability occur? People make decisions based on information that has appeared from various sources, such as social media or the media – and that information is not always verified or accurate. Having a sustainability communications strategy is more critical than ever because it centers just on your organization and its efforts. You can be crystal-clear about your intentions, efforts and goals when it comes to your organization’s sustainability journey.

 

AOE wants to do our part, as we believe in supporting the industry we have served for more than two decades. Although sustainability has been a theme for many years for our clients, we have seen a huge increase in our clients’ need to better communicate their environmental footprint to their audiences and we have helped them with this messaging using a variety of communication mediums. Our team has made a commitment to not only educating ourselves on the latest facts about concrete and its environmental attributes, but also by offering a variety of services to help you promote your organization’s approach to lowering carbon emissions in order to meet sustainability goals.

To learn more about how you can communicate the correct information about sustainability, contact AOE.

Why is sustainability communication important?
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