The secret weapon in delivering ESG success | Brunswick Group

The secret weapon in delivering ESG success

Why your employees are critical ambassadors

As global business leaders return after talks and negotiations at COP27 in Egypt, their employees likely fall into two camps. One set will be pretty interested and want to be kept informed about tangible actions, plans and the role their business can play. The other set of employees will find the annual gathering a waste of time and money. Both sets of voices need to be acknowledged, as communicating more creatively with employees may be a key differentiating factor in achieving your ESG ambitions.

Employees think companies are not doing enough

An IBM survey examining consumer and employee opinions on sustainability from 16,000 people in 10 countries found that only 1 in 5 respondents consider their current employers to be sustainable. Similarly, a Uniliy report showed that 83% of employees think their company was ‘not doing enough’ to fight climate change. While 63% said they need more information on their company's environmental goals. From an employee perspective, there seems to be clear appetite for more communications around ESG.

Employees are critical ESG stakeholders

Businesses are facing more scrutiny on their ESG strategy and metrics by an ever-widening range of stakeholders, from the consumer to the board chairperson. In terms of communication and involvement, one key stakeholder that has largely been ignored is employees.  But some of the key trends identified as being most relevant for employees are flexible working, climate action, health & well-being, and diversity & inclusion. All these form part of a business’ ESG strategy and ambitions.

ESG is critical to attracting and retaining talent

One of the main reasons why businesses may need to pay a little more attention to this stakeholder group is the ongoing war on talent.  By 2025, millennials will comprise around 75% of the world’s workforce and they are increasingly looking to join and stay in businesses who make positive environmental impact.

A report by professional services firm, Marsh McLennan suggests that top employers, as measured by employee satisfaction and attractiveness to talent, have significantly higher ESG scores than their peers. Similarly, nearly three quarters of respondents in the IBM survey said they are more likely to accept a position from a company they consider to be environmentally sustainable. There are plenty of statistics that show similar results, for example, businesses that attain B Corp certification have an uptick in talent applications, leading many to conclude that ESG can be a real competitive advantage in attracting and retaining talent.

Creating more value from your ESG strategy

When it comes to internal communications generally, employees are looking for more transparency, authenticity, and leadership. While communicating regularly on your ESG story, ambitions, successes, and challenges are all important, the most successful companies will be looking for ways to proactively engage their employees as protagonists in their ESG strategy. This is where the most impact, and therefore business value, can be had in the long run. This requires listening, active engagement and two-way communications. Some businesses already doing this successfully include AXA, L’Oréal, Natura &Co, and Deloitte who were the first company to roll out a climate learning program for all global employees.

If you want to find out more on how to approach this challenge and how we can support you to create engaging ESG campaigns, please contact Brunswick Creative’s Director of Employee Engagement, Naz Sadri.