As organizations and corporations navigate their sustainability and social footprint, social impact communications is more important than ever as businesses articulate their corporate purpose and commitment to ESG. Infusing clear and authentic messaging into your overarching communication strategy is a first step towards transparency when engaging stakeholders.
This was one of the many lessons shared this week as GSG hosted “Unpacking ESG Communications,” a webinar highlighting the challenges around ESG communications and how companies can align their business practices with societal expectations. Jade Floyd, Senior Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs at GSG, moderated the discussion that featured several experts in the ESG landscape, including:
- Cynthia Dalagelis, Senior Vice President and Director of ESG Investments at Amalgamated Bank where she advises purpose-driven organizations, funds, and private enterprises.
- Rehana Nathoo, Founder and CEO of Spectrum Impact, a consultancy committed to helping organizations expand their impact investing footprint..
- Josh Moskowitz, Director of Portfolio Strategic Initiatives at Citi Impact Fund, which invests in “double bottom line” companies that apply innovative solutions to address society’s most crucial issues.
The featured panelists shared insights on how their companies and clients share their impact with external audiences:
- Many people don’t have the benefit of working in an organization that prioritizes an ESG framework, but there are ways to initiate that conversation successfully. Cynthia maintained it is essential to understand an organization’s culture and find a “soft spot” to move the needle towards developing an ESG framework. Different organizations are motivated by different “soft spots” – like the fear of being called out for lack of a social or political stance, or the financial benefit an ESG framework could return.
- The key to putting more sustainable principles into practice is to first highlight the intention. It is important to discuss risk types, expectations, and tolerances. Rehana asserts that an ESG framework is the best for overall risk analysis because it incorporates all stakeholders for future decisions. In communicating impact, it is important to highlight both positives and negatives so the successes and drawbacks of the framework are understood.
- There are countless data sources on ESG, and it can be challenging to determine how to tell your organization’s ESG story efficiently. Josh recommends focusing on what differentiates your organization. It may be difficult to measure impact explicitly, but organizations need to figure out the right metrics to track the specific verticals they are focused on.
- An effective ESG framework must have a concentration on the human element and how the organization’s actions affect people and the community. Overall, Josh concludes that the data should be carefully used to show accountability and transparency and to keep track of set goals.
GSG is helping to reframe and elevate narratives around the latest ESG, DEI, and CSR issues and initiatives for global corporations and social impact brands. We invite you to our forthcoming webinar debuting our global ESG Monitor Report, a collaborative research study measuring Americans perceptions around ESG.