Ebenezer specialises in Development Communication, International Development, Innovative Finance for…
Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needsThe UN Brundtland Commission, 1987
The past decade has witnessed the rise of two powerful components in the business world – sustainability and social media. Both have improved consumer interaction and changed the way businesses view success.
Sustainable development requires an integrated approach that takes into consideration environmental concerns along with economic development. Today, there are almost 140 developing countries in the world seeking ways of meeting their development needs, but with the increasing threat of climate change, concrete efforts must be made to ensure development today does not negatively affect future generations.
Businesses play a crucial role in realizing these goals, and it is fortunate that many of them recognize this. Most businesses understand that going green not only helps protect the environment and society but also helps their bottom line. Businesses can benefit from transparently reporting their sustainability efforts to investors and stakeholders by leveraging guidelines from Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). From using eco-friendly packaging materials to switching to renewable energy, businesses have many ways to contribute. Moreover, companies can also use their resources to educate people about sustainability. Social media facilitates the sharing of ideas and information through virtual networks. From Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and YouTube, social media covers a broad universe of apps and platforms that allow users to share content, interact online, and build communities. More than 4.7 billion people use social media, equal to roughly 60% of the world’s population. Today, social media messaging apps and platforms are the most commonly used sites worldwide.
Sustainability in business
While many people might immediately think of companies committing to healthy environmental policies and practices as the primary ideals of sustainability, researchers discuss that sustainability in businesses involves managing the triple bottom line, which addresses and accounts for the company’s financial, social, and environmental risks. All three of these factors are critical, each relying on the others in the modern world where the Internet and social media platforms have given the public a powerful voice to make business owners accountable on all fronts.
The most successful businesses focus on all three of these criteria in their daily business practice, knowing the world is watching. Ideally, the companies stay vigilant for their own altruistic purposes, but the financial component can sometimes tempt business owners to de-prioritize sustainable social and environmental practices.
This feature zooms in on ways corporate organizations can promote sustainability through social media marketing.
Strategic ways businesses can contribute to sustainability through social media
- Sharing best sustainable practices
To promote sustainability through social media marketing, businesses can share their sustainable practices with customers. By doing so, they can showcase their commitment to sustainable practices and attract customers who value eco-friendliness.
This can be done through many ways including:
- Using renewable energy sources
- Implementing recycling programmes
- Reducing waste by using minimal packaging or using eco-friendly packaging materials
- Sourcing materials from sustainable suppliers
- Supporting local and organic agriculture
- Using energy-efficient equipment
Sharing sustainable practices on social media provides businesses with an opportunity to educate customers about the environmental impact of their products and services. This can encourage customers to adopt eco-friendly behaviours and contribute to a greener future. In addition, sharing sustainable practices on social media can help businesses build a strong brand reputation and increase customer loyalty. Customers are more likely to support businesses that prioritize sustainability and align with their values. This can ultimately lead to increased sales and brand advocacy.
- Leveraging eco-friendly language
Businesses can promote sustainability by using eco-friendly language in their social media marketing. This approach can show their commitment to sustainability and attract environmentally responsible customers. To use eco-friendly language, businesses can emphasize the environmental benefits of their products or services. For instance, instead of “cheap,” they can use “budget-friendly” or “economical.” Instead of “convenient,” they can use “time-saving” or “efficient.”
Other examples of eco-friendly language include
- Low carbon footprint
Using eco-friendly language can appeal to customers who prioritize sustainability and demonstrate a business’s commitment to environmental responsibility.
- Developing partnership with sustainability organizations
Businesses can amplify their sustainability efforts on social media by partnering with organizations that share their values. By collaborating with like-minded organizations, businesses can expand their reach. This allows them to make a bigger impact on promoting sustainable practices.Partnering with sustainability organizations helps businesses to build their brand reputation. It also provides opportunities to connect with other businesses, learn from best practices, and identify areas for improvement.
Consider a clothing company that partners with a nonprofit promoting sustainable fashion. This partnership can help reduce the company’s carbon footprint, ensure fair labour practices, and attract customers who care about sustainable fashion. Collaborating with sustainability organizations is a winning approach that benefits everyone. Sharing these partnerships on social media can inspire others to do the same and contribute to a more sustainable future.
- Encouraging sustainable behaviour
Promoting sustainable behavior through social media is a powerful way for businesses to inspire conscious choices that contribute to a greener world. By showcasing eco-friendly products and services and providing educational content, businesses can empower their customers to make more conscious choices.
Below are ways businesses can encourage sustainable behaviour in social media:
- Highlight sustainable products and services: For instance, a beauty brand can promote its use of eco-friendly packaging or ingredients. This not only showcases the brand’s sustainability efforts but also encourages customers to make choices that align with their values.
- Sharing actionable tips and tricks: A fashion retailer can post about upcycling old clothing or reducing textile waste. By providing practical steps, businesses can help customers make a positive impact on the environment.
- Supporting environmental causes and initiatives: Companies can share information and updates on sustainability-related events, campaigns, and charities. This creates a sense of community and inspires customers to participate in making a difference.
The outlined practices can be effective in encouraging your audience to go green. However, it can be argued that the best way is leading by example. If your audience sees your company’s sincerity and commitment to sustainable development, everything you share on social media will carry more weight.
- https://www.un.org/en/academic-impact/sustainability#:~:text=In%201987%2C%20the%20United%20Nations,development%20needs%2C%20but%20with%20the [Accessed June 28, 2023]
- https://elearning.scranton.edu/resources/article/communicating-sustainability-in-social-media/ [Accessed June 28, 2023]
- https://www.globalwitness.org/en/blog/how-can-we-hold-companies-responsible-damage-they-cause/ [Accessed June 29, 2023]https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/social-media.asp [Accessed June 29, 2023]
Ebenezer specialises in Development Communication, International Development, Innovative Finance for SMEs and Sustainability.