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    The ESG Messaging Playbook

    An ESG messaging plan is vital to your business impact as an ESG & CSR team. After all, your programs can only grow if you engage employees and stakeholders personally.

    ESG Professional working on ESG Messaging Playbook

    An ESG messaging plan is vital to your business impact as an ESG & CSR team. After all, your programs can only grow if you engage employees and stakeholders personally.

    WeSpire has seen its customers’ employee engagement grow by 6x when launching a messaging and communications plan on the platform. Here are some strategies and tactics that result in the most impact.

    The 2023 ESG Messaging Playbook is for ESG teams who…

    • are developing an ESG communication strategy.
    • need to increase employee engagement to reach their strategic ESG goals.
    • are working with their corporate communications teams on employer-branding

    What is ESG Messaging?

    ESG messaging is the way companies execute their ESG communication strategies both internally and externally. ESG messaging refers to the tactical plan or how a company intends to reach the right people with their communications.

    For example, a company may have a communications strategy to support ESG outcomes by increasing employee engagement in its corporate communications. Its ESG messaging plan may be to connect these outcomes with employee passions and use an ESG Engagement platform [ to deliver the messaging.

    Why is an ESG Messaging Strategy important?

    People won’t engage with or care about something that they don’t understand and feel a connection to.

    ESG is the culmination of a highly technical set of terms, strategies, financial goals, and impact outcomes. You know them like the back of your hand. But your people don’t.

    But when your friends and family ask what you do what do you tell them?

    If you can’t tell someone exactly what you are trying to accomplish in just a couple of sentences then you need to work on your messaging plan.

    What’s in the ESG Messaging Playbook

    1. Establish measurable goals for your ESG messaging.
    2. Concisely describe your ESG goals by ditching jargon.
    3. Develop localized campaigns aligned with global goals
    4. Scale your strategy globally with content management tools.
    5. Report your data publicly so stakeholders and employees feel their impact.

    Establish measurable goals for your ESG messaging

    Making your communication plan measurable will help you understand what is working and what is not. Here are 3 questions you need to ask about your strategy to help set measurable goals.

    What do you want the outcome of your communications to be?

    Make this a finite number aligned with your overall ESG strategy.

    For example: “Our goal is to reduce employee scope 3 emissions by 10% in 2023 by effectively communicating about our strategies and opportunities to have an impact.”

    Who needs to be reached?

    Some employees will inherently have a larger carbon footprint depending upon their type of work and where the work is done. Which groups have an outsized impact whose efforts may go further?

    Also, consider who is most engaged historically in your programs.

    For example: “Our manufacturing teams have the longest commutes and our surveys show they are also more likely to care about emissions in their local area. Let's prioritize our communication with them to encourage carpooling.”

    How many people need to be reached to achieve your goals and milestones?

    The goal of reducing your employee Scope 3 emissions by 10% is good from an organizational level. But now it needs to be applied to the audience you are trying to engage.

    For example: “If 30% of our manufacturing team who lives over 10 miles from work begins carpooling we will be 25% of the way to our emission reduction goal.”

    Concisely describe your ESG goals by ditching jargon

    SDGs. Scope 3 Emissions. Impact Reports. If you are reading this, these words all mean something very specific to you.

    But just like you may not understand financial models, your accountants may not understand the U.N Sustainable Development Goals. Or how Employee Scope 3 emissions can affect your net-zero strategy. They certainly won’t inherently understand how their new hybrid work environment can negatively impact reaching those goals.

    Using accessible language in your communications is mission-critical in engaging employees.

    Start simple with your communications.

    For example: “Turning off the light in your office after your in-person work day can save 1000s pounds of carbon emissions per year.”

    Align that activity and outcome with your goals and suddenly reaching net-zero emissions becomes a lot more personal and understandable.

    Read how Cox is engaging employees to reach net zero by 2034.

    Develop localized campaigns aligned with global goals

    Engaging employees is about more than just communicating opportunities and potential impact. They need to care about what they are doing and understand the impact of their actions. You need to give them options to get involved in their own way.

    At WeSpire, we supply our customers with hundreds of pre-built campaigns to support ESG teams in engaging employees in their programs.

    The result of more varied and localized ESG campaigns is a more accessible set of activities for all employees and participation rates 6x higher than the national average.

    The more impact people can see in their communities and within their interests, the more likely they are to be engaged.

    Scale your ESG communications with content management tools

    A good content management system will make it easier for you to scale your program with more campaigns and make it easier for employees to find activities that matter to them.

    If you don’t have a dedicated system, like WeSpire, use your existing tools like Excel, Sheets, Google Drive, or One Drive to organize and distribute your campaigns.

    We wrote a whole blog post about how teams are using common tools in their ESG strategies.

    As you scale, platforms like WeSpire allow ESG teams quickly deploy campaigns to their employees globally with just a few clicks while managing access, automating communication channels with custom integrations, and generating reports for stakeholders.

    Report your data publicly so stakeholders and employees feel their impact

    Your comms strategy needs to make employees feel invested in your ESG programs.

    This means they need to know how their impact is affecting the overall goal. Flip the data outward to each person and contextualize it in a way that matters to them.

    Simply telling employees how much carbon they saved by carpooling or by turning off their lights is good but just like your campaigns are creating a local connection, your data needs to do the same.

    ESG Messaging in 2023

    ESG messaging plan is an essential tool for ESG teams to reach their goals and engage employees in their company's ESG initiatives.

    It is important to establish measurable goals, use accessible language, create localized campaigns, scale with content management tools, and report your data publicly to ensure that your ESG messaging is successful.

    What are some of your goals and what are you doing to reach them in 2023?

    Check out our upcoming webinar “​​Ditch the Jargon: Developing Effective ESG Communications” on February 22 at Noon EST and let us know!