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Beefing up your website’s sustainability content

With sustainability programs becoming increasingly widespread, more and more customers, clients, and investors are basing their decisions about doing business with others on a company’s sustainability efforts. For this reason, it’s important to have information on your sustainability program easy to find and publicly available.

The best opportunity to communicate your company’s progress is through your website. It’s the first thing most interested parties will check out, and adding content can usually be done with minimal effort. Even for organizations with sustainability programs that are just getting off the ground, having a designated section on the environment or corporate social responsibility can go a long way toward building your sustainable brand.

The following are three quick tips that can help strengthen your public image surrounding sustainability.

1.     Make the section easily accessible from your homepage.

Webpages can have a lot of content, and taking space out of an already crowded navigation to add in sustainability might seem arduous. However, forcing site visitors to go through a scavenger hunt to find any information about your program will send the wrong message—no matter how much you’re doing, if it can’t be found, it will give the impression that sustainability is not a priority. Since sustainability work is most often about growth, productivity, and risk management, that’s not a message you should be hiding multiple layers into your site.

If it is not possible to have a “sustainability” (or “corporate social responsibility”) link within your main navigation, the easiest solution is to add the section on your “about” page. This is often a less cluttered place to include the link, and is a page potential clients and investors are likely to visit. It might even come as a pleasant surprise to those who were merely trying to find your phone number or company size.

2.     Play to your strengths

Though it might be tempting to emulate some of the more streamlined sustainability pages that have sections covering all aspects of ESG (environment, social, governance) and community impact, if your company isn’t there yet with your sustainability program, you may be feeling stretched for content.

Sit back and think about where you are in your process: have you implemented any quick win projects? If that’s the case, you can outline your basic sustainability plan, and writing more in-depth about the projects you are working on. Are you still in the very early planning stages? If so, champion what’s already sustainable about your company .You may not think your equal rights policy is that groundbreaking, but posting commitment statements on your website demonstrates an understanding about the importance of social sustainability. You can also write about your process for deciding what more you will do. Do you have a committee looking at this? Give them a shout out.

There’s bound to be something, even if you can only speak to qualitative goals. It will at least show that attention is being paid to this subject, and it’s something your company is taking seriously enough to mention publicly.

3.     Benchmark against your competitors and clients

There’s no one rule for what a sustainability section of a website should look like, and often you’ll find that there are different conventions in different industries.

The best thing you can do is benchmark against your competitors, or even the customers you are trying to attract and retain. That will give you a sense of what information they might be looking for. If everyone else is reporting their water footprint, then that’s something you’ll want to think about prioritizing. In the meantime, perhaps a paragraph on how your company uses water efficiently could get across much of the same messaging. By visiting others’ websites, you’ll get a fast feel for what you’re missing.

Sustrana developed a benchmarking tool that allows you to rate your own website against your customers, competitors, and investors to see where you stand in terms of your outward facing sustainability story. This tool highlights your areas for growth, while also allowing you to accurately appraise your current standing. You can request a demo of the BEAT tool, as well as the Sustrana platform here.

No matter what, if sustainability is important to your company, it’s important to talk about it!