THURSDAY 11 JUL 2019 1:52 PM

FIRST FRAMEWORK FOR MEASURING SUSTAINABILITY COMMS RELEASED

On 27 June, strategic communications consultancy Portland Communications released a study emphasising the value of effective communication of a company’s CSR and sustainability efforts. The Total Value Index has become “the first comprehensive framework to measure the total value generated by business[es] in Britain,” according to Portland Communications. The research came to a bitter conclusion that the majority of the nine assessed sectors displayed an immense disparity between what a company says about its own green credentials and public perception.

This index proves that many genuine ecologically conscious corporations are not receiving the recognition deserved for their efforts on sustainability and maintaining green business practices. Green has become the new black, yet these findings exemplify that many businesses face the struggle of productively positioning their companies’ green attributes. Many people are hesitant to buy anything marketed as green for many reasons. For one, many are suspicious of all things green, given the abundance of false claims of eco-friendliness. 

Positioning companies as eco-friendly is wonderful...if that’s what the audience is looking for. Bardessono, a luxury spa resort in Napa Valley, California, exemplifies the essential need for astute positioning. In 2009, Bardessono opened its 62 room property, boasting platinum status (earned by only one other resort in the United States) from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) programme. The hotel initially attracted handfuls of environmentally friendly journalists and eager conservationists, although it lacked attention from customers. Potential clients with a desire for luxury assumed a green hotel would be limited, confining, or uncomfortable. This catalysed Bardessono to rebrand as a world-class, opulent hotel that’s eco-friendly, too. Instantaneously, bookings skyrocketed at full price. 

It is critical to acknowledge what an audience desires from the goods offered. The Total Value Index further proves that customers are naïve to the veracity of sustainable companies. The level of emphasis placed on those efforts is entirely subjective. With the information gathered from the Total Value Index, businesses will be able to find means to improve their reputations amongst what Portland refers to as “informed and influential” audiences, such as, legislators, media, corporate figureheads and powerful customers. 

Following the basic formula that profit added to purpose equals value, Portland has created an index based off of 45 companies and nine industry sectors, across 67 respective measures.

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