Shaping ESG strategies: adapting to regulatory changes

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With almost daily headlines about companies rolling back initiatives, or even greenwashing, ESG has had a battering of late.

So what’s going on?

The European Parliament announced in February 2024 that it has greenlighted a directive that will regulate sustainability claims. The directive will provide greater scrutiny to carbon offsetting schemes and new laws are being considered that will increase product durability and repairability. 

What does this mean for comms?

Any organisation looking to report on or promote its ESG credentials, or use terms such as ‘eco’ or ‘green’ in their branding or marketing, will need to be prepared to have their assertions scrutinised by accredited verifiers. The price of failing is steep. Organisations must be prepared for public criticism, on top of fines or being blocked from public procurement opportunities. 

The directive is not final, a vote will take place after the June EU elections. It will apply to any company selling goods or services in the EU bloc, regardless of where they are located.

Here are three things global comms professionals should do now:

Review all materials

It is vital for companies to prepare now for this. Reviewing any and all written materials watching out for language around carbon offsetting or environmental pledges. How verifiable are any eco, green or environments claims? Are statements applicable across the entire supply or value chain? Are they audited by an accredited third-party? Watch out for the specific phrases outlined in the proposed directive.

Prepare for transparency

Inevitably in any organisation there will be gaps in information. Knowing where those gaps are and implementing a plan to gather that information in the most complete way possible will help companies to prepare an effective comms approach. Gathering information is one of the most time-consuming steps so starting the process now will help ensure organisations are in a stronger position for when the directive comes into effect later this year.

Re-think strategies

Is your comms strategy still viable? Most organisations are on a journey with ESG and there may be tweaks and bends in the road along the way. Now is a good time to take stock, be honest about gaps and pivot appropriately.
If you need help auditing, developing, and communicating your ESG credentials, Missive is here to help. Our team has experience formulating effective strategies to identify goals, developing action plans that target achievable progress, and writing long-form reporting in line with standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Contact us today.

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