Communication of Sustainability Programs & Stakeholder Engagement

Effective communication of your sustainability vision, goals, and progress to both internal and external stakeholders is essential to motivating your team, prioritizing activities, and ensuring continuous improvement in your operations. ISTC can help you with all aspects of engaging your internal and external stakeholders as you define and pursue your sustainability goals.

Sharing Your Story Results in a Variety of Benefits

  • green purchasingCustomer perception and loyalty—for yourself and your partners. Customers appreciate learning about your sustainability efforts and those within your supply chain because it gives them the confidence that using your product or services aligns with their own values.
  • Media attention. Proactively sharing your vision, successes and challenges can garner attention from the media and thus raise awareness of your organization without spending funds on advertising.
  • workplace satisfactionWorkplace satisfaction. Understanding organizational sustainability goals and efforts can instill a sense of pride among employees, even if they’re not directly involved, potentially increasing job satisfaction.
  • Recruiting new talent. New recruits may be drawn to your organization if your sustainability journey aligns with their personal one.
  • Increasing buy-in and creating a “culture of sustainability.” When internal stakeholders are well informed and have the opportunity to comment on and contribute to sustainability goals and efforts, they are more likely to feel part of the solution, rather than having change imposed upon them “from above.” Consistent communication with staff helps integrate sustainability into your collective identity.brainstorming session
  • Tapping the creativity of internal stakeholders. The more your own employees know about organizational goals and progress, the better their capability to apply their unique perspectives and expertise to overcome any challenges faced during implementation.
  • Tapping the creativity of external stakeholders. Your transparency could lead to new opportunities for collaboration and partnership with other organizations.
  • Positive perceptions of potential funders and investors. Effectively sharing information on your past, current, and planned efforts can strengthen applications to funding agencies and potentially gain the interest of investors.holding an idea
  • Inspiring peers. Effective communication to external stakeholders can build your reputation as a leader in your sector and further support sustainability by inspiring your peers to emulate your efforts.

How the ISTC Technical Assistance Program (TAP) Can Help You

  • UIC SMM plan coverSustainability visioning, goal-setting, and planning. Our team can provide customized visioning sessions, help you identify and articulate sustainability goals in line with your organizational values, and formulate effective plans for sustainable change and tracking progress.
  • Establishing regional and global context. Connecting your programs to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), national sustainability targets (e.g. SDGsthe food waste reduction goal identified by the USDA and US EPA), relevant current or pending state legislation, and current events will illustrate recognition of your organization’s place within broader systems and assist with internal planning and prioritization of initiatives.
  • Inventorying your sustainability efforts. Organizations sometimes focus on environmental aspects of sustainability, without recognizing economic and social facets which may relate to previous or ongoing activities. Functional silos or inadequate interdepartmental communication can result in an underestimation of sustainability initiatives and success. We can help you characterize the full extent of existing efforts and previous accomplishments for an accurate baseline against which future progress may be measured.
  • workshopEmployee training and engagement. From recommending and/or implementing activities to involve your staff in organizational efforts, to developing and delivering customized presentations or educational materials to raise awareness and sustainability literacy among employees, we can help ensure that sustainability is part of everyone’s mindset and responsibility.
  • solar case studySustainability reporting. We can help you identify and/or create effective and appropriate means of communication to share your sustainability story with internal and external stakeholders, based on your situation, desired audience, and our experiences with clients of various sizes from a variety of sectors. Reporting can take many forms and be relatively simple (e.g. newsletter pieces, intranet content, case studies, press releases, social media campaigns, signage on progress for staff) or complex (e.g. formal sustainability reports following your own format or a globally recognized framework). Our team will help you navigate the possibilities.

Browse descriptions of TAP projects involving stakeholder engagement (including sustainability planning or reporting).

In addition to individual project descriptions, you may also browse our publications for case studies highlighting stakeholder engagement activities, as well as links to publically available organizational sustainability plans or reports which we have helped our clients develop.

These quick links highlight a few examples of our work and are also found in the projects and publications pages mentioned above.

cover of city of urbana recycling survey report
Report on survey of City of Urbana employees to gauge knowledge of recycling options & garner feedback on new practices.
Cover of Forest Preserves District of Cook County Sustainability & Climate Resiliency Plan
Forest Preserves of Cook County Sustainability & Climate Resiliency Plan
cover of spraying systems report
Spraying Systems Co. GRI-Based Goal Setting and Reporting (link is to an overview; full report is available from Spraying Systems upon request)