Should we be more Kermit?

Written by Jane Dalton, co-founder of Global Parlez.

Did you catch Boris’s reference to the Muppets last month?  Right now any joke, pious advert or £million competition that relates to the environment is newsworthy.  Why?  Because the planet is on fire and COP26 is the UK’s time to shine on all things ecological.   

It’s all very well to talk a good game, but as companies based in the UK, what can we really do to contribute?  As Kermit says, isn’t it all a bit difficult, being green?   

Maybe I’m being greedy, but I think we should be looking at ESG as something that has to make sense economically as well as environmentally.  We have always talked about economy and ecology as two opposing entities.  Like the two can’t exist working in combination.   

But that line of thinking is becoming obsolete.   

“As a brand we don’t struggle with recruitment, which in our sector, means we’re doing something right.  One aspect that we know employees see as important, is the work we do to reduce our carbon footprint. This has been making progress step by step, not all at once, because the whole management team has to buy into the plan.  And ultimately, suggestions must make sense for our long-term economic sustainability.  Or the money doesn’t get released.”  

FD, North West UK hospitality chain 

At Global Parlez we feel very strongly that economy and sustainability have to co-exist and work together.  As a Market Research CIC set up to advance sustainable development, that might feel like a weird thing to say.  But we’re realists.  We know full well, if we want organisations to embrace sustainability as a core working principle, we must also demonstrate where the money is. Otherwise all green plans will be quietly side-lined once the noise of COP 26 dies down.   

But here’s the newsflash.  Consumption is not going anywhere.  It is changing in nature, but it is not going away.  If you don’t want your employer brand and your company’s products to be as out of date as last year’s spam, you had better get with the programme.   

Listening in to global changemakers – people who are all actively engaged in UN sustainable development projects and enterprise around the world – we keep up to date with cutting edge insight into all aspects of the climate change debate.  It helps us to see where commercial opportunities lie, what industry leaders think, and what expectations consumers have for brands in terms of transparency, deliberate action and sustainable change.   

And to be honest, what they are asking for is not out of line, or rocket science.   

Recent discussions have brought us out at a few simple guidelines for green-ness:  

  • Right now, brands are more trusted than government or the media.  Let’s keep it that way by avoiding greenwashing.   
  • Transparency and positive forward motion are more important than solving everything overnight.  Focus on doing one thing well, then move on to the next.  You’ll take customers and employees with you.
  • ESG is not to an add-on.  It’s a fundamental way of doing things.  Treat it like Wifi not the Christmas party.   
  • ESG isn’t just climate change.  Take a look at the UN’s 17 goals to hit by 2030.  Good quality jobs, shared prosperity.  Quality education.  Resilient communities.  Surely there’s something in there that aligns with your company values?   
  • Vegan burgers might not always sell like hot cakes, but they send a strong message you’ve noticed the world is changing.  I’m not sure what the ‘vegan burger’ equivalent is for your industry, but think it out.  Send a clear signal that you’re doing something concrete.   
  • Scrooge just became your best friend.  Cutting out waste and reducing energy usage is a great way to be green.  AND it delivers immediate economic benefits.   

Ok, on the run-up to Christmas, playing Scrooge might seem like a bad idea but if you add a bit of humour to it, people will join in.  What about a ‘bring your woolliest jumper to work’ day?  Turn the thermostat down a few degrees and make a donation to Age Concern.   

All of a sudden you’ve hit the Triple Word Score of ESG – workplace wellbeing, being green, saving money.   

Move over Kermit.  It’s our turn to be green.


Written by Jane Dalton, co-founder of Global Parlez.

For more information, visit www.globalparlez.com.

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