ESG – Environment, Social, and Governance – is a term loaded with buzz and complexity that is viewed by many stakeholders as critical to an organisation’s success and thus completely changing the way businesses operate.

ESG comms are different than ‘business as usual’ comms since there are multiple internal and external audiences to consider with much at stake for each of them. Audiences include investors, customers, suppliers, community members, governments, and employees. All of these segments are taking notice of companies’ ESG strategies, which directly affects employee recruitment and retention, customer acquisition and loyalty, supplier relationships, and operations in different geographies and communities.

Communicators must have a firm grasp on the organisation’s ESG priorities/strategy so they can demystify ESG for all audiences and enable powerful outcomes. During our recent webinar, “How to Communicate Your ESG Story,” we were joined by Ashley Perkins, VP of ESG & Internal Communication for Stanley Black & Decker to unpack all things ESG and how best to communicate it. Here are her 5 tips for communicating ESG in your organisation.

1. Understand ESG and what it means for your organisation

Many mistakenly limit the notion of ESG as being about the environment alone; but it’s actually about the ability of a business to sustain its own existence over time, which is predicated on how responsibly the business manages its workforce, product offerings, use of the planet, the communities in which it operates, how it operates with integrity, and so on.

A common misconception is that there is an inherent tradeoff between doing what is good for people or the planet with what is good for business. In reality, ESG is the convergence of those things and how what is good for people and the planet is ALSO good for business. So it’s important to first understand this and what that means for your organisation.

Esg: planet, people, profit

2. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!

ESG feels daunting for many, and we know as communicators that audiences typically have short attention spans, so you must keep it simple and relatable. Consider your language choice as you craft communications – you can communicate about your organisation’s ESG efforts without even saying the term ESG. At its core, ESG is about responsibility – responsible stewardship of your impact on the environment, responsible stewardship of your social agenda, and responsible management of your business.

3. Focus on why it matters

Comms is critical to unlocking and rallying an organisation around ESG. Catalyze that ‘aha moment’ on what ESG is, why it matters, and why your audience should care. Hook them in with the compelling ‘why’ so they understand it, and then bring it to life through the art of storytelling with actual examples of the organisation’s ESG efforts and progress. At its simplest, ESG is good for the planet, good for people, and good for business – reasons which many will support!

4. Proliferate an ESG mindset

Depending on the size of the organisation, a company may need a small team of experts who are thinking about ESG all the time and working on the ESG strategy – but it’s not those experts who are going to drive progress. It’s everyone across the company acting with ESG in mind in their functional seat- very similar to DE&I.

Top-down messaging and expectation setting is critical as you need to have commitment at the top to gain commitment at all levels. Make it relevant to each employee with examples of how they can do their part, e.g. Procurement finding suppliers who have similar emissions reduction goals or Human Resources considering incentive plans tied to ESG targets.

5. Tell your story across all internal and external channels

There are multiple, diverse audiences and the stakes are high, with organisations being held tightly accountable for their ESG efforts by internal and external stakeholders. Communicators must tell their ESG story across all internal and external channels, being sure to tailor messages according to the audience while also presenting a consistent ESG story across channels and audiences. Channels include the company website, social media, investor comms, PR, and employee channels – especially leader/manager comms.

Comms teams play a vital role in articulating the organisation’s ESG story and moving all their audiences through understanding to action. To learn more about this event, or how Kademy can support your comms team in this area, get in touch at