This week’s post about green and sustainability jobs brought a question from someone who recently landed a CSR position with a major corporation. He asked for advice on how to incorporate green points of view in his CSR recommendations to management.
Fortunately, friend and PR counselor Bruce Harrison has given this question a lot of thought so I enlisted him to offer up the following suggestions that will help anyone charged with green responsibilities at corporations or agencies. Bruce runs EnviroComm Inteternational and he writes and lectures frequently on green subjects. Here’s his recommended game plan for 2010:
Corporate greening moves up on corporate agendas as the economy strengthens and government pushes for private sector action. Here are 10 points, or reminders, for PR professionals that will help them in all things green in 2010…and beyond.
1. Educate yourself. Get briefed on how the company is handling all environmental, health and safety matters. Insist on specifics. Your key question: How do our green and carbon credentials stack up against competitors’?
2. Think 3 bases. Shape your greening strategy to cover financial, social and government accountabilities. Your point: These three must work together to define the company’s sustainability.
3. Manage perception. On the web, in executive speeches, wherever you’re perceived, make green messages consistent and aligned. Your question: How does this advance our investor, social and political interests?
4. Get validated. Put your greenness to the test of respected third parties. Key move: Among your external evaluators, include the Carbon Disclosure Project.
5. Buddy up. Find common ground with other influentials and work through them. Involve top executives as appropriate. Your point: Let’s improve our options through groups like Business Roundtable, industry associations and green activists.
6. Qualify stakeholders. Focus first on stakeholders with high-impact perceptions. Your questions: Who cares about our greenness? Why? Who can we count on? Who do we need to work on? How do we neutralize detractors?
7. Think as they do. Find ways—research, feedback systems—to get your head around each stakeholder’s value point. Think: What’s in it for this stakeholder? What must we deliver to get his or her approval?
8. Size up Uncle Sam. Sit down with business unit and government relations managers to see what they need, plan to seek, are willing to accept in terms of government help. Your contribution: Engage with them on a strategic PR plan that balances sustainability factors.
9. Stay online. Assign responsibilities to engage in social media. Your checkup question: Are we on top of conversations that affect our green perception?
10. Forearm. Get pre-crisis intelligence. Use search engines, competitive research, internal grapevines—whatever it takes to constantly plug in to what could become reputation risk. Your goal: Your people bring you red flags before executives and others tell you about them.