Business purpose

How to apply the SCORE system to communicate your sustainability progress and win customers

- August 26, 2022 3 MIN READ
Close up of Hand Holding a Heart Shape green Leaf on Chest sustainability concept carbon footprint

One of the greatest obstacles businesses have when communicating their sustainability goals is fear. Will they be called out for not doing enough? Or will they be accused of greenwashing? For many businesses, sustainability ends up becoming siloed as a separate project, but it is important that sustainability becomes embedded in everything that a business does, writes David Walsh, CEO and founder of CIM.

According to research, two out of three Australian consumers rank social and environmental responsibility important when choosing a brand, while more than one in five have switched brands based on sustainability perception in the past year.

Businesses need to start communicating their sustainability credentials and understand what social, environmental, and governance (ESG) issues their customers, partners and suppliers care about – and address them.

Using the SCORE system to share your sustainability goals

The challenge is to communicate this in a meaningful way that shows the business is making a genuine effort to boost its sustainability efforts, without sounding fake or opening yourself up to unwanted attention. Many companies suffer from ‘green whispering’ and fear talking about the progress they are making.

A great guide for how to do this is applying the acronym SCORE – Simplify, Connect, Own, Reward, Exemplify.

It was developed by the Enacting Purpose Initiative and gives business leaders a framework to enact ways to achieve their stated purpose.

Simplify

Setting goals can be complex. And while the process for determining your goals may be complex, it’s critical that goals and aspirations are clearly articulated.

A good guide is to separate your goals from activities. For example, installing solar panels is an activity. But the goal might be achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2025. Or, you may have a goal of reducing energy use by 25 per cent in a specific part of a building. That might be achieved through a variety of means, such as replacing inefficient equipment or using analytics to better configure machinery.

Hand holding green glass sphere with plant inside

Connect

Your goals and actions must be clearly linked; ensure your words and actions line up with your aspirations. Your business may have a goal of reducing carbon emissions, but if you decide to upgrade the corporate motor pool with petrol cars then your goals and actions may be perceived to be disconnected.

Make your goals part of every decision so your actions and aspirations are clearly connected.

Own

One of the easiest criticisms that can be made of any ‘green’ strategy is that it doesn’t go far enough. And while you may want to be 100 per cent carbon free and replace all your diesel generators overnight, it may simply not be possible for financial and operational reasons.

Be transparent and not afraid to answer tough questions – avoidance is not a good strategy. Learning to answer hard questions and being prepared to defend your aspirations and actions is critical to great leadership.

Reward

Provide motivation for everyone to engage and support your goals.

Rewards don’t have to be financial. Intrinsic rewards, gamification and other tools can be used to motivate and reward customers, staff, shareholders and other stakeholders on the journey.

Exemplify

Look for ways to differentiate your business from competitors. This is a great opportunity for your business to show off its creative flair. Keep your language clear and avoid the jargon. Simple language and great storytelling are powerful and effective tools for conveying complex messages in a way that resonates and is memorable.

If you make mistakes along the way, discuss them and explain the challenges and how the business is constantly learning and improving.

Accelerating net zero ambitions and improving sustainability makes good business and brand sense, and can be the key differentiator in Australian businesses that thrive over the coming years.


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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"