This is how you make sustainability tangible for your clients
By embedding sustainability into your policy and processes, you can create social added value as a company. You would like to make that clear (and rightly so) to your stakeholders and clients, but how do you do that in a credible and inviting way? Our advice, with some inspirational examples.
A first piece of advice: get your clients involved
With transparent and consistent communication, you’re already taking a step in the right direction. But you can take this even further and also actively involve your stakeholders in your sustainability efforts.
Jumping on the electric bandwagon together
The number of electric vehicles sold in Belgium increased by 34.9% in the first three months of the year. In the EU, the increase was even 49%, according to the figures from the European car federation ACEA. So driving electrically is on the rise and that means that the market is in need of additional charging infrastructure.
That offers several opportunities for your company: you can use charging stations and passes for your branding, but you can also offer it as an extra service to your clients. Or you can use electric vehicles to take part in the sharing economy, like our client ‘Solidariteit voor het Gezin’ (Solidarity for the Family).
Join forces in a cooperative
Is your shop located next to other storefronts in a park or along main roads? Then you should definitely consider a joint investment with your neighbours – for example in electric charging infrastructure, solar panels or maybe even a (small) windmill – that you can get more returns from, together.
Play it smart with a SolarHub
You don’t necessarily have to pay for the solar panels on the roof of your store yourself. Individuals or other companies that are unable to put up their own solar panels, but do want to invest in them, can do that for you: the essence of a ‘SolarHub’. Eneco pioneered this in the Netherlands: 170 solar panels on the roof of the local Rabobank office were sold to local residents in Etten-Leur. In Flanders, similar initiatives are being looked into in the context of the Solar Plan of Energy Minister Bart Tommelein.
A second piece of advice: actively communicate with your clients
Your annual CSR report is not enough to prove that you care about sustainability. The critical consumer demands that you say what you do, do what you say and also say what you don’t do. In other words: your clients and consumers want to know and should know that sustainability is an integral part of your company strategy. How can you make that clear?
Prove your green image with an accreditation or label
With an accreditation or label, you give your clients a clear sign of your sustainable engagement and you will distinguish yourself from greenwashers: companies that make themselves out to be greener than they actually are. With the official CO2 Neutral Label for example, you will prove that you’re working on a CO2 neutral shop.
Walk the talk, even in your ‘ordinary’ communication
In order to stay credible, you must consistently be doing what you are proclaiming. Is sustainability a priority for you? Then make sure that your clients can electronically receive and take care of letters, offers and invoices.
Don’t keep your sustainability plan in-house
With our ‘One Planet Thinking’ strategy, we don’t just want to help ourselves, but also help other companies and our clients to operate sustainably and to respect the boundaries of our environment.
Let CSR live internally
In order to give the external communication regarding your corporate social responsibility (CSR) more strength, it is in your best interest to also communicate about this internally. Because your employees are the most important ‘ambassadors’ of your engagement to the outside world.
Are you ready to take the next step?
Towards CO2 neutrality, an electric vehicle fleet or green energy?
As a 100% green energy supplier, Eneco would love to help you start the transition to sustainability.