With over 20 years working to strengthen our sustainably-minded values and markets, my team and I highly value awareness and action in the green finance space, and know the impact it can have. Every day the world seems to be realizing a little more that together there is a collective necessity for a greener future, and I believe our responsibility starts with our businesses.
According to the FSDC, “Green finance is a broad term that refers to capital raising and financial investments flowing into projects, products and companies that support the development of a more sustainable, low-carbon and climate-resilient economy.”
While there is an overarching trend from a global scale to move towards greener investments and business initiatives, we know on the smaller scale there is strong movement, especially in the B2B and B2C spaces.
B2B and B2C
A recent study from KPMG International (that was quoted in the Global Reporting Initiative) found that over 20 years from 1993 to 2013, “the practice of corporate sustainability disclosure has increased dramatically.” Nearly all the world’s largest 250 companies now report on corporate responsibility (CR), acknowledging that it is an issue. But the growth in sustainability doesn’t stop there.
Corporate responsibility is at the forefront of things businesses can do to move sustainability forward, and of the most importance to those who are green and who want to be. Here in the United States, smaller businesses are joining the movement and working towards the growth of green and sustainable markets too. A new study, The Big Green Opportunity, shows that green finance and markets are growing across all industries, including fair trade food, organic food and non-food, social investing, green building, and renewable energy.
Furthermore, on a national and global scale, a recent Nielsen report notes that “among global respondents willing to pay more, statements about product sustainability purchase drivers were 10 to 13 percentage points higher than the global average percentages for these statements.” Our customers across the board are asking for sustainable priorities, which gives even more reason for our response to be the wholehearted delivery of solutions wherever we can.
Green Investments Go Global
With all these growing market trends in the private sector, it is no surprise there is an increase of green finance investment on a global scale. We see some of the largest companies and economies moving towards more sustainable futures: everyone can see that this is the future.
It’s no secret that green investments and companies with sustainable values and sustainability-focused markets have continued to grow and improve their practices. There is a shift towards a more positive outlook from a governmental perspective as well. With China planning to emerge at the forefront of green finance, many project that we will see this trend continue in other markets.
According to Michael Sheren in a recent Bloomberg article, “I can absolutely say green finance has gone up the agenda.” This is even evident in emerging markets in China where the country expects to spend “equivalent of $600 billion a year on delivering its green initiatives, as much as $300 billion of which will be transacted offshore.”
We aren’t saying this road will be easy however. According to the New York Times, “A new report from the United Nations says that the world will need to mobilize $90 trillion in public and private capital over the next 15 years” in order to successfully finance sustainable development.
In the end the answer to both China’s and the world’s concerns about funding will come from the private sector. Which raises the question, how will business communications and strategy look in this changing market?
Strategies for Communicating Sustainable Activities to Audiences
I’ve always thought that one of the best things about sustainable-minded businesses – besides the fact that they are helping to preserve the planet – is the story they get to share about the tremendous changes their company is actively bringing about. Today’s audiences are ready and waiting to align themselves with companies that are striving towards a larger goal, beyond just turning a profit.
Being serious about sustainability allows you to operate your business with a peace of mind you won’t get otherwise. It is an added benefit that you’ll also get to tell the world about what you’re doing and why. Too few sustainably-focused businesses are loud and proud about their green practices, but aren’t taking advantage of opportunities to connect with their audiences in relation to their efforts.
Over our years of history working with businesses in the green finance sector, we’ve gotten to evaluate a number of highly effective, engaging ways to communicate efforts with individual audiences. These are just a few of the strategies we have found to be most effective:
- Start the conversation
- Use basic outreach methods to talk about more than sales, proudly share your green achievements
- Invest in market surveys and research, from which you can also share the results
- New technologies
- Investing in new sustainable technology is a no brainer and one of the fastest growing sectors of sustainability
- Give clients a chance to be involved
- Match their own donations/efforts
- Host events
- Offer engagement opportunities with partners
We positioned ourselves in the sustainability space more than a decade ago, and we are always excited to work more closely with other companies who operate there as well.
Should you have any questions or would like more information about green finance, sustainable investing, or sustainable practices please reach out.