Article | 25 Apr 2023

Sustainability in 2023: What It Is, What It Isn’t & How Businesses Can Accelerate Their Impact

Posted in Business, Industry news, Learning,

When it comes to achieving sustainability goals, businesses are facing some of their most significant challenges to date in 2023.

Tougher regulations, increased public demand, and economic uncertainty is setting ESG strategies off-kilter, and brands are looking for new, creative ways to tackle their targets. 

As we mark Earth Day, we're looking at what sustainability really means for brands right now - and ways you can accelerate your commitment and impact.

Sustainability is:

…an investment

Sustainability regulations are becoming increasingly stringent across industries, and meeting the necessary targets demands higher investments from businesses. From new technologies, to increasing your PR budget, 2023 will set new heights for sustainability investment.

Maximising your company's budget will be key this financial year. There are a number of ways to do this, including applying for government funding designed to help businesses become greener and more sustainable. Good funding awards can significantly bolster your green transition.

…a long-term pursuit

We have global targets to reach by 2030 and 2050, and it's likely your business has goals of its own. But achieving sustainability means playing the long game, and finding new ways to improve your organisation's understanding, and action over many years.

If you have a status meeting set up for each of your business segments every month (like sales, marketing or PR), it's time to add sustainability to that list. Accelerating your brand's impact means identifying what you're getting right, what you're getting wrong, and what you might've missed in your strategy.

…a collaborative effort

It's no one-man band. Sustainability will never be achieved by a single individual, organisation, or country. It requires the consistent actions of many, rather than the perfect actions of few, and the same goes for your business' efforts.

Partnering with organisations aligned to your brand is a positive way of accelerating impact, and broadening your sustainability strategy. Alternatively, sourcing a sustainability consultant is a great way of expanding your company's bandwidth. They can increase your performance, rectify gaps in your strategy, and inform you of regional and international regulations.

Sustainability isn't…

…a one-dimensional initiative

One of the most common missteps brands make with their sustainability goals is that it's solely about environmentalism. In reality, sustainability is much more. It's a multi-dimensional goal that emphasises the need for cohesive environmental, social and economic harmony.

Achieving true sustainability will require an increased focus on the full picture in 2023. From how an organisation's supply chain supports global economic strength, to the energy used in HQ offices, all the way to a brand's diversity and inclusion strategies. True sustainability is a well-oiled, critically examined machine.

…a way to 'green hush' or 'green wash'

PR and communications is vital in furthering business' sustainability efforts. It can promote company incentives, create community-driven action, and act as a vehicle for change. Unfortunately, when used with the wrong motives, it can also cause serious issues. 

Greenwashing and green hushing (purposefully withholding information about sustainability goals or impact) are big concerns for every business, so tackle it with transparent, data-led messaging. Communicating your sustainability targets, action plan, and progress throughout the year will demonstrate commitment, help build loyalty, and enhance brand authority.

…a magic bullet for your brand woes

With public demand and governmental pressure amping up, it's no wonder brands use 'sustainable' as a label to boost sales and bury bad PR. But 2023's consumers are some of the most informed, intentional decision-makers to date.

Try as you might, saying you're sustainable or even demonstrating sustainability can't fix every challenge your brand may be facing. If your business is experiencing loss in revenue, high levels of employee turnover, or some other public scrutiny, loudly promoting sustainability isn't only pointless, it could be detrimental in the long-term.

2023: a turning point for corporate sustainability?

Corporate sustainability has seen a steady rise over the past decade - in investment, urgency, and commitment.

With governmental regulations and public demand increasing with each passing year, and new opportunities for companies to ramp up their activity, could 2023 prove to be a turning point for businesses and consumers alike?

The durability of a business' sustainability strategy can be measured by a brand's capacity to enhance and evolve its efforts to meet with emerging information and opportunities. And importantly, drive meaningful change worldwide.

If you are looking for help with your sustainability initiatives or to effectively communicate what you are doing in this space, then do get in touch with us here a The Work Crowd HQ. We have recently launched a new Sustainability hub, so can put you in touch with the right sustainability consultant to support your needs.