19 May 2020

Communicate Your Carbon Action

Posted in: Communicating sustainability

Communicate Your Carbon Action


This is the first of a three-part series on the importance of communicating climate action and carbon reductions for your business - why you should do it. Stay tuned for the second and third parts: how you should do it and how effective carbon communications can make a big impact.

Carbon action by business needs to be publicly discussed, challenged and celebrated if we’re to meet the global commitment to stay below the 1.5 degree Celsius temperature rise.

We all need to learn from each other’s work, and “normalise” taking effective climate action. But how can we do that if businesses aren’t communicating their measurement data, reduction plans and ongoing achievements?

Here are some reasons why we should all be talking carbon.

Meet public expectations

Carbon reduction is important to the majority of New Zealanders and is influencing their everyday choices and buying decisions.

IAG’s recent research showed 79 per cent of New Zealanders feel that climate change is important to them. It’s a safe assumption that those Kiwis will be looking at how they can contribute to making positive change. The good news is that the data backs that up. A report from the Sustainable Business Council showed that 71 per cent of New Zealanders actively research a brand’s sustainability actions before purchasing. Also according to IAG, 67 per cent of respondents said they were prepared to take personal actions to reduce their climate impact.

So, with the majority of New Zealanders seeking sustainable products and services, those businesses talking about their carbon action with honesty and transparency will be out in front, and ready to increase their market share.

Help the market recognise carbon leadership

The 2019 Colmar Brunton Better Futures Report found that despite the many local businesses making measurable carbon reductions, 70 per cent of New Zealanders couldn’t, without prompting, name a brand that was a leader in sustainability. So for all those businesses that are taking climate action, there is enormous scope to grow their brand with a engaged like-minded audience.

Furthermore, climate change is a global problem that requires action from all of us. We have a responsibility to encourage others to participate. Promoting your organisation’s carbon achievements can helps other organisations see what is possible and motivate them to take climate action. The more mainstream the carbon reduction journey becomes the less scary it seems to those who have yet to embark on it.

Become an employer of choice

Millennials will make up almost 75 percent of our workforce within a decade and it is well-known that this generation is far more committed to working for organisations with a strong environmental reputation. Communicating your carbon reduction journey is a great way to show potential workers what you value, and demonstrate how you can support their own environmental action.  Remember, carbon reduction ideas, implementation and long-term commitment mostly come from engaged staff!

It is also likely that in the future attracting the best talent will become increasingly competitive. As SkyCity Chairman Rob Campbell explained to Toitū last year, “young people across our businesses are asking about our sustainability credentials quite frequently.”

Future-proof your business

Resilient businesses are constantly looking into the future and responding to change and risk before it’s on the horizon. By prioritising and communicating your environmental credentials you will be in a good position to mitigate risk from climate change, reduce costs, respond to changing investor and consumer demand, and front-foot future environmental challenges. After all, doing good is good business.

Stay tuned for the second part in this series coming soon for carbon reduction inspiration.

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