While ambition is great and should be encouraged, there is also such a thing as too much ambition; and that is where sustainability objectives and claims can take the wrong turn.
Companies need to live up to the expectations of consumers, investors, clients and all sort of stakeholders, including regulators and other legislative institutions.
This means sustainability objectives are both an strategic need as much as a demand from the very people and groups in society that keep companies afloat.
And so it is crucial to find a good balance between setting and communicating achievable, yet ambitious, sustainability objectives.
Achievability before ambition
Often times the problem lies in how the pressure to perform well on environmental, social and governance related issues is making many companies take sustainability objectives too far when communicating them, and not reciprocating that through actions.
The reputational consequences of such a strategy can be extremely detrimental to a company’s wellbeing and competitiveness. What we all know as greenwashing is more often than not the consequence of putting ambition before achievability.
Promises of reducing this or changing that by the year X, Y or Z is a well too common slogan among many enterprises. However, the lack of actual progress in many of these areas makes very important objectives feel quite empty.
Make employees an active part of your ESG strtaegy
I’m sure we can all think of many examples where we have heard such ambitious targets on climatic and social issues, and yet not the same can be said about the examples where the latter have been achieved and communicated.
And this is precisely where greenwashing is not only harming companies’ reputation and ability to gain people’s trust, it is also harming the environment and society by portraying such crucial milestones as marketing tools.
Setting achievable sustainability goals
I think we can all agree this is a great lesson to learn, for corporate sustainability as much as for our own personal endeavors. Setting achievable goals and standards is the key to success in any matter.
It is important to understand what we need to do as a company to improve ESG performance and ratings, and continue moving forward towards a more sustainable planet. Carrying out a materiality analysis is, for example, a great way to start this process of self-understanding.
It is also important to remember that just because we are trying to aim towards achievable corporate sustainability goals, doesn’t mean there is no room for ambition. In fact, going a little beyond what seems most likely can help push progress further.
It is this little ambition, together with realistic milestones that make up the perfect communication strategy and campaign, creating trust and building reputation across stakeholders.
How employees can help achieve sustainability goals faster
As much as achievability is a great quality to keep in mind when setting sustainability targets, it is also a reality that the regulatory aspects of ESG and the increasing demands of society put a great deal of pressure onto companies.
This is why all help in achieving sustainable progress is a much needed blessing, including that from a company’s own employees and talent.
In DoGood, we aim to simplify the complex web of sustainability objectives for companies by offering a platform that translates the high-level ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) objectives into actionable tasks for every single employee.
Then, each employee not only knows how to make an impact but also feels empowered to contribute meaningfully to the greater sustainable strategy.
No more vague directives. No confusion. DoGood automates the process, making it seamless for the workforce to know precisely what steps to take.