Pulling the United States out of the historic Paris Agreement was the last kick in the gut from this administration in regards to the environment that we needed. But sometimes we need to hit rock bottom for people to really pay attention to something.
It is basically this administration saying, “We don’t care at all, not even a little.”
I think some people were holding out that even with the budget cuts to the EPA and a climate change denier running the department, things would still turn out alright. However, we now know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, it is up to us.
It is up to influencers and entrepreneurs to lead this country in bringing awareness and education to creating real solutions for sustainability. Consider this your call to action to use your influence and existing brand loyalty to enable ordinary people to examine their choices so they positively–not negatively–impact the environment.
Here is the thing, big corporations know about incorporating sustainability in their business culture and branding. We see companies like Coors Light promoting their “Climb On” campaign, boasting that they produce all 22 million beers annually entirely from solar power and we know Tiffany & Co. has a Chief Sustainability Officer on staff.
History is ready for personal brands, solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, influencers, thought-leaders to use their already-established know-like-and-trust factor to be role models of sustainability for their audiences. Now more than ever, you are being called to truly embrace the concept of, “with great power, comes great responsibility.”
This morning I heard Arnold Schwarzenegger say, “Like all great movements in human history, our clean future starts with a grassroots movement in our communities, our cities and our states.” He is totally correct. This starts with all of us making better choices every day and inspiring others to do the same–to examine choices we are making already.
I have to believe that when people know better, they will do better. The challenge is that most people are completely unaware of how their daily behavior and purchasing decisions are directly contributing to climate change.
This is why I’m on a mission to educate and support for-purpose entrepreneurs to bring advocacy and activism to their brands.
Here are 4 simple, yet potentially world-changing ways you can use your brand to bring education and awareness to real solutions.
1. Showcase Your Personal Lifestyle Choices
Use your social media channels and platform to let people see and hear why you do what you do. Instead of simply posting a picture of a quinoa salad, explain in the caption that you’ve gone “plant-based” because animal agriculture contributes to 50% of greenhouse gases. When you shop using your reusable bags, buy organic cotton clothing, bring your own mug to get your daily coffee, or wear makeup without palm oil as an ingredient, use that as an opportunity to bring awareness to the importance of these simple daily choices that can collectively change the world. People already trust you and are looking to you to lead them, so imagine what the ripple effect could be when you begin to use your voice this way.
2. Discuss Your Sustainable Business Culture
Whether you are composting food scraps in the office to decrease methane emissions from landfills, or using Woody Harrelson’s tree-free printer paper, let your audience know! Don’t just do it; spread awareness and let people know how they can compost and how they can purchase Step Forward paper at Staples.com. Let them see on your Instagram Stories and Facebook Lives that team members bike to work and recycle everything from electronics to glass jars.
“Advocating for social change is becoming an expected part of doing business fueled by consumers who demand that corporations use their resources and influence to accomplish good in the world. Advocacy can differentiate you from the competition and build passion for your brand.” - Karen B. Moore
3. Put it On Your Website
Many conscious companies now have tags in their navigation bar titled, “Our Sustainability Story” or “Corporate Responsibility” or “Activism.” Create an extra tab on the dropdown below your “About” page and let your customers know what you believe and how you are showing up through your behavior and choices. Do you give a percentage of revenue to a particular cause or organization? (If you don’t (1% for the Planet is my favorite) Put that on your website (use their logo if they’ll let you), and include it in your sales materials. Let people know that when they invest in your products and services, a portion of their purchase goes toward sustainable progress.
According to the latest Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability report published in late 2015, Sixty-six percent of consumers say they are willing to pay more for sustainable brands, up from 55% in 2014 and 50% in 2013.
4. Fundraise or Host an Event
Get your local community and customer base engaged by hosting a live event. Maybe it is something directly connected to the environment, like cleaning up trash from a river or educating other local businesses about putting recycle and compost receptacles at their retail locations. Use crowdfunding to raise money for a particular cause and offer a giveaway incentive to everyone who contributed when the donation goal is reached. Engaging with your audience and customers helps them feel more connected to your brand and that they are part of something bigger. Have fun with it! People want to be doing their best, so use your influence to point them in the right direction with compassion and enthusiasm!
Kathleen Ventura is a high-performance coach, conscious consultant and TEDx speaker. She is a self-proclaimed “intentional liver” on an uncompromising mission to spread awareness and inspire action in ambitious leaders, and to make a real difference towards social and environmental issues. She believes that living intentionally, actively designing a life in alignment with one’s unique values and priorities, breeds freedom and abundance.
She coaches conscious entrepreneurs, executives and influencers to create a lifestyle that enables them to show up as their best selves in everything they do, and serves as a consultant for personal brands looking to bring activism and advocacy to their messaging. You can join the Conscious Makeover Movement here or get private support for bringing sustainability to your brand by scheduling a consult here.