Crafting Your Sustainability Story—Issues of Concern

Crafting Your Sustainability Story—Issues of Concern

Step 1 in crafting your sustainability story.

Whether or not your business chooses to pursue a formal sustainability reporting strategy (such as those developed by the Global Reporting Initiative or the International Integrated Reporting Council), identifying the most relevant issues for your business is the ideal starting point for any sustainability story.

The key thing to remember about issues of concern is that you don’t get to decide what they are—your stakeholders do. You can’t get away with just talking about the good things your company is doing. Stakeholder input defines what’s most important for your company to be focusing on.

Exactly which issues you’ll need to focus on could very well be as unique as your business itself, but certain common issues apply to many industries. Other factors might be influenced by your location, the demographics of your owners or employees, your impact on the local environment or economy, and the impact of your supply chain.

For example, for a company that produces paper, the biggest issues might be sustainable forestry, water usage and waste management. A power company would need to address the environmental impact of energy generation, the reliability and cost-effectiveness of service and the safety of employees. A food company’s focus might include issues as broad as sustainable agriculture, supply chain management, human rights, nutrition and obesity risks.

Once you know the issues that are of greatest concern for your business, embrace them and tackle them head-on in as transparent a way as you can. You want to make sure that you’re communicating what’s important and relevant so that you’re not criticized later because you haven’t focused on the real story.

For an overview of the entire process of crafting your sustainability story, download our ParaThink Briefing: Beyond Green: The Expanding Role of Sustainability. Click here to get your free copy.

Want to review your own sustainability strategy—or anything else that’s on your mind? Set up a complimentary 30-minute strategy session with us by clicking here.

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