There is no doubt that becoming sustainable is a must for companies competing in today’s business world. Not only is it the right thing to do to help protect our planet, but it’s what consumers want and what investors want. Yes, even investors want to see the companies they choose to invest in making efforts to become more sustainable. In fact, 44% of investors say they actively avoid companies that have a poor sustainability track record.
With this in mind, how do companies use good sustainability efforts to attract investors? It’s certainly not enough to simply declare their intentions. Action must be taken. Companies must not only strive for compliance with government regulations; they must ensure their sustainability efforts give them a competitive advantage in every way.
Marketing can find investors with environmental initiatives. But how?
However, it’s also not enough to be actively sustainable. If word doesn’t get out, neither consumers nor investors will take the time to seek you out and find out what your company is doing. For this reason, it is up to marketers to determine how a company’s sustainability efforts are communicated to the various stakeholders, including investors.
Here are some steps to take to ensure that happens.
1. Decide on your sustainability strategy
If you haven’t already, take a good look at where your company can make a difference in terms of sustainability. Nearly every company can reduce their carbon footprint in some way. Other areas of sustainability include things like green packaging, energy conservation, the ethical sourcing of raw materials, and the ethical manufacture of their products.
As a company, you need to decide on your approach to sustainability. This approach should, first and foremost, take into consideration compliance. Then it should take into account competitive advantage. And marketing should be involved in these decisions every step of the way. After all, these are the people who will effectively show the world what your company is doing to become more sustainable.
2. Align sustainability with business strategy
When sustainability is undertaken purely for the sake of sustainability, this strategy can fall apart as easily as a house of cards. But when sustainability is aligned with your company’s business strategy, it is reinforced and can stand the test of time.
For example, Toyota coupled its development of the hybrid engine with a reduction in dependence on rare earth minerals. The result was a more sustainable product, waste reduction, and less financial and operational risk for the company because they relied less on imports. This is the kind of thing investors want to see, that your sustainability efforts boost the bottom line, rather than hurt it.
3. Put it in terms of numbers
With the above in mind, a company’s sustainability must be quantifiable. What is the return on their sustainability investment (ROI)? Are their sustainability efforts sustainable? There must be a business case made for sustainability and it must include ROI and other quantifiable numbers that show investors it’s worth their attention.
4. Get the board onboard
An incredible 86% of executives believe that the board of directors should be intimately involved in a company’s sustainability efforts. However, just 48% say their CEO is involved and only 30% say their board is involved. Yet, it is the board of directors that is often directly connected to various key stakeholders, including investors.
If the board can’t adequately tell investors about your company’s sustainability efforts, those investors will be far less likely to pay attention to you. Have marketing communicate directly with the board to help them know how to position your company in the eyes of investors.
5. Collaboration: the key to find investors
It takes many different stakeholders to ensure a company runs smoothly and makes a profit. All these stakeholders are critical in ensuring that sustainability efforts succeed. This includes suppliers, manufacturers, shipping and logistics, and distribution. When a collaborative effort is made on the part of all these key players, marketers can include those collaborative efforts in their marketing initiatives. It’s just one more level of your company’s sustainability efforts that investors will be interested in.
This collaboration can also be brought down to an organizational level. Every decision made in every department must have sustainability in mind. Every employee should be involved in those decisions, whether that the philanthropic efforts of the company to make a positive impact on the local community or to bring sustainability into the DNA of the company and its operations. Marketers can use this to their advantage, focusing on these efforts, creating personal stories of employees to share with investors, showing how infused sustainability is in every facet of the company.
6. Be totally transparent
When all is said and done, the sustainability efforts a company makes is only part of the whole. There must be complete transparency to ensure investors know what a company has done and the results of their efforts. Through transparency, sustainability efforts can be advertised, assessed, and improved upon.
Marketers are key in this transparency. They can ensure that sustainability reports are properly marketed and adequately distributed. They can ensure that your company’s sustainability efforts shine through in your advertising, social media presence, and content marketing initiatives.
Calculate your shipping carbon footprint and start finding new investors
In the end, all the hard work your company has done to improve sustainability must be communicated to investors and all other stakeholders. It is marketing’s job to ensure this happens. By ensuring marketing is involved in all key decision-making and has available to them adequate quantifiable information, personal stories, and the commitment of all stakeholders, they can develop a marketing package exclusively targeted to investors, ultimately bringing them onboard for the long run.
Quantifiable numbers are critical when marketing to investors. To calculate your shipping carbon footprint, check out our carbon footprint calculator.