How to make it in sustainability communications
An ever-increasing awareness of the fragility of our planet, and in parallel today’s media fuelling the need for transparency, has created an expectation on all businesses in regard to sustainability. This means, no matter the sector, organisations are mapping their social and environmental impact. This means sustainability communications has been pushed to the front of conversations not just within public relations, but also the wider world.
In February, I attended a live event on how to be a strong communicator within the green tech and sustainability industry. The discussion got me thinking about the top three things I would recommend in order to be successful when it comes to representing clients in the green tech and cleantech space.
The idea that if you are looking to develop a career in communications you need to be passionate about it, was shared amongst all the panellists. Ultimately, if you care about the story, product, or person you are representing, you are much more likely to win over the target audience, whether that be a journalist, the c-suite, or stakeholders.
The pandemic changed a lot of individuals’ relationships with nature and concerns around climate change issues. This means discussions around sustainability issues are becoming more common – whether it is a small change from cow’s milk to oat, or a wider investment with an electric vehicle – public opinion is gravitating more towards reaching net zero goals, and holding government responsible if we do not.
Banging the drum for brands that deserve to be heard requires genuine interest given the impact the climate crisis is having on our world, otherwise, what is the point?
Often news around the climate crisis is shocking and sad. Whilst it is so important to talk about these big issues, one panellist believed timing and offering a creative angle is everything.
Convincing the general public that something is happening, which they may not be able to witness in their day-to-day lives, can be difficult. For example, deforestation, the permanent removal of trees to make room for something besides forest, happens every day but because we live in central London, that fact likely doesn’t cross our minds every week.
The ability to offer video content, social posts or local comparisons which makes something more relatable, will help you succeed in representing the brands you work with in the sustainability industry.
Further, when speaking to a journalist, your pitch should focus on highlighting a broader problem whilst presenting your client as part of the solution. This can open conversations not only about the issue at hand, but also around how these issues can be addressed. This leads to…Leading to more opportunity to be included not just in traditional national papers, but broadcast media too.
Look after your mental health
Working within the sustainability space does mean you open yourself up to discussing often hard hitting, sometimes sad, macro issues.
Science around the climate change crisis can be blunt and transparent. This means your day-to-day role can lead to days discussing air pollution, food waste, deforestation, and global warming, to name a few. The consensus throughout the panel session? was that it is essential to take time to discuss your feelings with your family and friends, especially when the topic can be overwhelming.
One of the panellists suggested podcasts as an area of escapism and to provide some respite during a busy work day. Some of their favourites included The Guardian’s Today in Focus and Radio 4 Desert Island Discs or, if you’re like me and looking for something more light hearted, Off Menu always makes me smile.
At Babel, we are passionate about providing proactive and creative media relations and the ability to take a “Babel Break”, gives us the opportunity to take the time we need to protect out mental health. If you’re interested in learning more about sustainability and communication, do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!