Effective communications for the pathway to zero
Achieving climate protection targets determines the political agenda; the transformation to greenhouse gas neutrality is a key driver for making dramatic changes to the way we live and work. Many companies have already begun to tackle the transformation of their business models, others are on their way and are developing the relevant strategies and roadmaps. This mammoth task requires long-term thinking and action – and is characterised by considerable challenges in terms of communications. Among them are a complex stakeholder environment, massive pressure to be transparent and explain new policies, as well as high-octane debates with strong potential for escalation and scandalisation, particularly in social media. This is frequently compounded by strong dependencies on other players since climate protection targets often cannot be achieved by a single company on its own. In order to successfully implement a transformation to climate neutrality, well-planned, strategic and effective communications are essential – we call it “WINNING GREEN”.
The starting points, external conditions and stakeholder expectations on the path to climate neutrality – the “pathway to zero” – are different for each sector and each company. In addition, businesses are faced with a multitude of uncertainties, for example in terms of financial or technological aspects. And there are also many questions left to be clarified for business leaders and communications managers with regard to communications strategy issues. Among the most important topics are:
POSITIONING: How can I create a strong profile for the company and its management in the opinion market as well as the political environment – also in relation to other market players or the relevant industry association?
ASPIRATION: What level of ambition am I building and how can I make my contribution to solving a socio-political issue palpable and demonstrate my innovative strength?
NARRATIVE: How can I create a long-term, standardised framework for communications on transformation?
EXPECTATION MANAGEMENT: How can I organise a dialogue on targets and milestones, including potential conflicting targets and areas of tension?
TRANSPARENCY: How do I present the individual stages of implementation and hone my sustainability profile?
Over the next few years, communications will be a key driver for success on the pathway to climate neutrality for individual businesses as well as entire sectors. A communications strategy that consistently measures the company strategy with all its targets as well as challenges on the way to implementation against the socio-political reality and the different expectations of the relevant target groups, creates competitive advantages.
ACCEPTANCE: Open, target-oriented dialogue about objectives and the implementation path creates good will from politicians and fosters understanding and appreciation from society – in this way companies safeguard their licence to operate and create room to manoeuvre.
PROOF: A sustainability profile underpinned by proof points protects against accusations of greenwashing and creates trust – in this way companies also open up new financing potential from green investments on the capital market.
ACTIVATION: Well-planned communications and targeted change management get managers and employees involved in shaping the transformation and drive the cultural change that is often needed within the companies; away from traditional engineering thinking towards a mindset that is open to new technologies and driven by sustainability – in this way companies bolster their ability to reinvent themselves and their innovative strength.
ATTRACTIVITY: Strong socio-political credibility and a clear roadmap with exciting, future-oriented and international projects attract young talents to get on board and embark on the journey to a climate neutral future – this enhances companies’ reputations as employer brands.
Deekeling Arndt/AMO (DAA) has been supporting the transformation of companies and entire sectors in times of radical social and technological change for many years – in terms of their positioning and shaping the dialogue in the political and pre-political spaces, among opinion leaders and on the capital market as well as in addressing and involving managers, employees and co-determination bodies. We have extensive experience in advising and supporting companies of all sizes and from different sectors, including energy, chemical, steel, automotive, environmental technology and transport, with their communications strategies.