Why Sustainability Transparency Matters for Brands

By Miles Oliver

Sustainability is a priority in today’s business landscape. The ethical, social, and commercial imperatives of adopting this mindset are increasingly clear. Yet, it’s also worth noting that it’s not just your efforts to be greener that matter. How visible your commitment is also makes a difference.

Transparency is a powerful tool in any business. It’s something that can keep everyone honest and accountable. But what about your sustainability efforts?

Let’s explore why being transparent about your commitment to environmental responsibility should matter to a brand’s strength and growth.

Aligning with Consumer Preferences

The first reason transparency matters for your brand is that it helps align your business with current consumer preferences. Research shows that consumers care about sustainability and the approach businesses take to minimising negative environmental impact. As a result, environmental considerations factor into your customers’ purchasing decisions. Among the various benefits of adopting sustainable practices, your brand may experience greater customer loyalty as a result of shared ethical values and your brand belief system. Therefore, it’s in your company’s best interest to be as visible as possible about your efforts.

There’s also a specificity that transparency brings to your communications about sustainability. By being open about what your brand does to reduce its environmental impact, customers can see exactly what you’re focusing on. They have greater clarity on what your priorities are and how these align with their interests. This can be particularly impactful when your efforts have a focus on safeguarding customers’ local communities.

Importantly, transparency in your sustainability is a forum for openness and honesty. Greenwashing is a serious issue in the business landscape. This is when brands use dishonest marketing tactics that make them appear to be sustainable to take advantage of eco-conscious consumers. Your transparency and specificity provide evidence of your efforts, which can build trust.

How can you be transparent in a way that engages customers? Social media is a good platform for this. You can create content that gives behind-the-scenes looks at aspects of your operations and how you incorporate sustainable principles. Wherever possible, enable your workers to create this content independently. This can provide such posts with an added element of authenticity and relatability.

Boosting Staff Engagement

Consumers care about the environment, but they’re not the only demographic that considers your brand’s actions. Employees may also respond to how sustainable your company is. This isn’t just about whether they continue to work for your company, but also how they positively influence it. A recent study found that 59% of C-suite leaders felt employee activism had already influenced the organisation’s actions. By being transparent about your sustainability efforts your staff may be more engaged with and committed to your organisation.

One reason for this is that transparency makes connections between staff activities and sustainability clear. By keeping and sharing records on the outcomes of your workers’ day-to-day eco-conscious actions, you’re reinforcing that they make a genuinely positive difference to both the company and the planet. This may be a solid source of good morale.

Additionally, transparency can be a great tool for actively involving staff in improvements. After all, being open not just shows what you’re succeeding in but where you’re not quite hitting the mark. As a result, you can invite your staff to all-hands meetings to discuss these elements and devise solutions. Your efforts highlight to staff that you value their opinions and give them a real stake in how green the company is. Don’t forget to reward your employees’ engagement in these improvements, too.

Leveraging Operational Efficiency

In some ways, sustainability is intrinsically linked to operational efficiency. The environmentally friendly actions you take will often involve minimizing wastage and curbing the overuse of finite resources. This is as good for the health of your business as it is for the planet. By taking an active approach to transparency around the efficacy of your sustainability, you can identify areas to optimize and streamline.

An effective way to get a good sense of how successful your efforts are is to use digital tools that track corporate sustainability. With artificial intelligence (AI) driven tools you can assess the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) impact of the company by analysing data on everything from carbon emissions to energy use. Sensors in the Internet of Things (IoT) placed around your business can provide you with real-time insights into the efficiency of staff activities and areas of waste. This transparent sustainability reporting is a valuable source of data to take action on.

From here, your department managers can meet to review the outcomes of corporate sustainability reports. They can then collaborate on assigning priorities for streamlining both their fields and the wider company workflow. For instance, you might identify an ESG gap related to inefficient routes taken by couriers in your supply chain. You could address this by switching to working with companies that use artificial intelligence (AI) driven route planning. As a result, you minimise delivery costs and shipping times while also reducing the emissions that result from long journeys.

This isn’t something that you should do once, though. Regularly reviewing your company’s operational efficiency confirms how impactful the changes you’ve made are and allows you to make continuous improvements.


Being transparent about your brand’s sustainability can be beneficial on several levels. It can be a great communication tool that influences your relationships with customers and staff alike. It’s also useful for informing improvements to your operational efficiency. Remember, though, that the core of transparency is authenticity. The more transparent you are with all stakeholders, the more meaningful your connections can be with everyone. It may even open you up to unexpected partnerships with other green brands or environmental organisations.

Looking to develop your brand beliefs or principles, or strengthen your sustainability credentials? If you’re interested in how you can build a more authentic and meaningful brand connection with your audience, we’d love to chat. Contact us here.

This is a guest post by Miles Oliver

Image; Unsplash, Jan Piatkowski

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