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5 Questions Your Business Needs To Ask on Its Sustainability Journey

Since the pandemic, flying production crews to different corners of the world is now widely seen as risky, expensive, and harmful to the…
5 Questions Your Business Needs To Ask on Its Sustainability Journey
Photo Credit: Storyhunter freelancer Sajad Safajoofee

Since the pandemic, flying production crews to different corners of the world is now widely seen as risky, expensive, and harmful to the planet. More and more businesses recognize that we all have a role in fighting climate change and have adapted to tell their stories with less carbon footprint. We at Storyhunter are proud to be part of this sustainability effort. So, how can your business get on the right path? We spoke with Kaushik Sridhar, a Global Top 100 CSR influence leader, and put together the five essential questions to ask before starting your sustainability journey.

How can I define sustainability for my business?

The first step is to define what sustainability means to you. Which realm do you want to explore? Do you want to stand behind reducing carbon emissions? Net-zero? Renewable energy? For example, when you think of Storyhunter and remote video production, Kaushik says, “there’s so much positive impact being created, but for businesses to make their mark in sustainability, they have to really define it for themselves.”

Here, you can use “materiality” to assess your products and services and help you understand their sustainability impact. “Setting metrics is one thing, but setting material metrics that really help you measure what matters and where it matters is another thing,” Kaushik said. “When you do a materiality assessment, ask the people that matter most to your business and to your supply chain what they think are the most important issues in the industry that you operate in or in your business model.”

Check out Ford’s 2020 Sustainability Report in which the motor company conducts a materiality assessment to help identify the issues that matter most to their business. And here’s a guide for companies who want to better understand materiality.

Are my employees educated on sustainability?

Once you find your niche, it’s time to get your employees educated in the sustainability space. Employee education is a big part of creating a sustainable business culture, and you can start this initiative in the short, medium, or long term. “The organizational culture, in this case, can become where sustainability is truly lived and not just spoken of,” Kaushik said. “And that’s the holy grail for many companies.”

Making sustainability a part of your strategy is a key way to not only retain but also attract top talent.

Where do my competitors stand on sustainability?

You have defined what sustainability means for your company and have started to educate your employees on the topic. You can now carry out a competitor analysis. For example, if you are a food and beverage company, choose two small, medium, and large businesses and study their sustainability efforts. Once you have looked at companies of different sizes, you will get a closer understanding of your positioning on the issue.

What do people outside my business think of my efforts?

You can conduct an internal stakeholder analysis with your employees in addition to understanding what people outside your organization think about your sustainability efforts. For starters, Kaushik says this is what you need to be asking: Do people know you have a sustainability program? Do people care if you have a sustainability program? If they care, what do they want to see you doing?

Check out these Unilever case studies showing how the company is building “safety and environmental sustainability into every product innovation.”

How will I communicate my sustainability efforts?

Sustainability is “dangerous” because it’s full of jargon and acronyms, Kaushik told us. So, throw out the superfluousness. “Rather than focusing on the acronyms, it’s important to know the substance and meaning behind it. Otherwise, we can get caught up in the ‘alphabet soup,’” Kaushik told us.

“Social media and sustainability have in common authenticity, transparency, community, and creativity,” Kaushik said. “Effective storytelling has, over the past three roles that I’ve had, been an essential part of the team’s communication strategy.”

Schneider Electric is one company that is effectively communicating its commitment to sustainability. They have a landing page dedicated to their strategy from an impact report outlining their targets, a decarbonization roadmap, to a biodiversity action plan. They also created the two-minute video below describing how they are “leading the way to accelerate sustainable progress.”

Storyhunter has pioneered decentralized video production where creators in the most remote locations of the world can be hired within hours to produce amazing content. We help clients reduce their CO2 emissions and support local talent. So, another simple way to get started is to see if you can partner with a company who has been on the journey for some time, learn from their model, and support their business.

By Shivan Sarna, Head of Stories