The Goods, FEBRUARY 2023


This month, we discuss why a carefully communicated ESG framework will benefit your organization in the long run, even in a polarized political environment. We highlight some key research findings from a recently-released GSG report, examine how you can measure progress on your DEI efforts, and offer insights on the latest trends in social media. We also talk about our upcoming webinar with communications leaders from nonprofits and foundations who will discuss how you can build a more effective year-long communications strategy and plan — you can sign up for the webinar now here.

The Goods is a newsletter for social impact communicators that helps you keep track of the latest updates, trends, industry best practices, and much more. This content is compiled and curated monthly by Jade Floyd and the team at Global Strategy Group.

The Shifting Politics of Doing Good in America 

This month, GSG released The Shifting Politics of Doing Good in America, the tenth annual Business & Politics Report. The report series has become the authoritative voice on the role that companies play in political and social discourse, and how this impacts brand perception. In this report, most Americans (77%) agree that companies have a responsibility to bring about social change on society’s most important issues. While some ultra-conservative voters believe that companies should unwind their ESG initiatives, only 8% of Americans think investigating how companies spend money on ESG issues should be a priority for Congress.

Quick Hit: While socially responsible investing has been around for many years, there has been more complexity in defining ESG and measuring the impact of ESG initiatives. Despite this, there are steps your company can take to better measure your ESG performance.

Your Takeaway: While many ESG ratings are based on different subjective grading systems by different rating organizations, several organizations have put measurement and transparency at the forefront of their communications. Internally, offer financial transparency to your employees so they can see the connection between their performance and results. Outline a shared economic understanding so there is a common cause that everyone, regardless of position, is working toward.  (Fast Company

Quick Hit: ESG has become more politicized, and many wonder if there are risks to engaging in conversations and practices focused on ESG and sustainability. However, an ESG framework remains an integral part of delivering benefits to stakeholders. 

Your Takeaway: In both internal and external communications, reframe ESG as a framework for more efficient business, which improves business performance and success across stakeholder groups. Be knowledgeable about the ESG landscape, and be detailed when reporting to align with your goals. (Reuters)  

Quick Hit: While there is a general agreement on the importance of sustainability in business, debates about ESG, which focuses on businesses and their approaches to environmental and social issues and their governance, are likely to become more complicated. There continues to be political controversy surrounding ESG, and there is now skepticism about ESG investments as investors question the performance of ESG funds.

Your Takeaway: Despite the noise surrounding ESG, the cost of doing nothing is more significant. Clear threats to society, like climate change and inequality, will affect your business’ bottom line. The costs of action, like clean transportation and energy, are more affordable than ever before, and due to changing norms, your organization is expected to act in society’s best interest. (MIT Sloan Management Review

Quick Hit: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and other metrics are important in measuring the progress of your DEI efforts, but it may be challenging to figure out where to start.

Your Takeaway: There are many categories of outcomes that are valuable to your stakeholders, and simply highlighting your demographic representation is insufficient. Create a theory of change to highlight the work being done by your organization to be more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Use your data and findings to hold your leaders accountable, take further action, and communicate the purpose of your DEI initiatives. (Harvard Business Review

Webinars For Good: Crafting a Strategic Communications Plan 

Join us on March 10 at 12pm for a conversation with communications leaders from the Walton Family Foundation and Share Our Strength who will share how nonprofits and foundations can build more effective year-long communications plans. The conversation, moderated by GSG Senior Vice President Jade Floyd, will include a discussion on the most effective channels to reach your audiences, tie content planning to strategic programmatic goals, and highlight best practices and stories from our panelists. 

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