Sustainability – communicating with confidence

This month the Climate Change Commission released its draft advice for Government to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 15 years.

The report calls for “transformational and lasting change across society and the economy” in response to the climate crisis and recommends the setting of three new emission-reduction targets:

  • an average reduction of 2 percent emissions each year between 2022 and 2025
  • a 17 percent reduction each year between 2025 and 2030
  • a 36 percent each year between 2030 and 2035.
NZ business focus

Cleary, the focus for most businesses in Aotearoa New Zealand in the coming years will be on how they adapt their business to help reach the country’s sustainability targets.

Businesses will need to think about how they communicate to their customers and stakeholders as people in New Zealand and around the world increasingly expect businesses to step up and solve some of these issues.

  1. Set your objectives – be clear about the sustainability story you want to tell
  2. Identify the good you are doing – don’t be shy, this isn’t a humble brag
  3. Make it relevant – provide context and make your message relevant. When talking about CO2 emissions, consumers can find it hard to visualise what 50 grams or 20,000 tonnes of carbon really means.
  4. Keep it positive
  5. Be authentic
Tips for making small changes

According to Janet Stephenson, director of the Centre for Sustainability at the University of Otago, there are three ways to bring about this change: changing what we have, changing what we do, and changing how we think.

Changing what we have means making low-carbon choices with new technologies or vehicles, or make changes to our offices. This could include:

  • Invest in insulation
  • Use reusable coffee cups
  • Put in LED lights
  • Buy an electric vehicle.

Changing what we do involves making changes to everyday practices including:

  • Take the train, bus or bike to get to work and meetings rather than a car
  • Reduce the use of single-use products like coffee cups
  • Switch to cloud computing

Changing how we think is an important precursor to change because it’s now becoming ‘normal’ to talk about moving away from fossil fuels to a net zero carbon future, whereas a few years ago it wasn’t.

So, whether you’re an SME or a multi-national, there are positive steps you can take AND positive news to share. Communicate with confidence and help inspire others to make changes too.