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The Top ESG Trends for PR and IR Pros to Know from August

Sustainability news doesn’t take time off this season. August saw major brands announcing big plans around environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts. Even as macro headwinds like inflation cause major headaches for companies, sustainability efforts continue onward.

Below is a roundup of the ESG news trends gathered through a view of press releases sent via PR Newswire throughout August – and how PR and comms teams can learn from their example.

1. Dedicated Spaces for Internal and External Stakeholders

Valmont’s SVP of Investor Relations, Renee Campbell, recently shared some advice for companies at the ESG Integration Forum in New York City: Optimize your sustainability messaging for internal and external stakeholders with a strong website.

Kellogg did just that by creating a dedicated site and press materials for its “Better Days Promise” initiative, which is “designed to advance sustainable and equitable access to food by addressing the intersection of wellbeing, hunger, sustainability and equity, diversity and inclusion.”

Kellogg then went a step further to bring awareness to the site by announcing it via PR Newswire (among other efforts) and broaden the chances that journalists and news outlets will pick up the story and further amplify their efforts.  

What Kellogg’s announcement gets right: In addition to including – not one, but two – links back to their dedicated site and a headline that gets quickly to the “what,” Kellogg kept the reader in mind with eye-catching visuals to creatively convey their campaign purpose and the use of bullets to draw the eye to key concepts. Kellogg’s call to action at the end is also worth noting, as it goes beyond the typical “learn more” and tells readers exactly what they should expect to find when they follow the link.

2. Education Through Product Announcements

In 2022, companies have been implementing ESG into their core offerings, and as the press releases  on PR Newswire in August indicate, this trend is still going strong. Companies are utilizing press releases to announce new programs and products to generate customer buzz – and educate their audiences on their ESG efforts. 

Alaska Airlines launched a program with corporate partners Microsoft, Boeing and Washington State University to purchase sustainable aviation fuel credits – helping to build awareness of the company’s decarbonization efforts. In addition, Skullcandy introduced its “Transparency Series” of earbuds and headphones that are designed to educate customers on sustainability while also reducing the company’s carbon footprint.

See them for yourself to learn by example:  

What these brands get right: Skullcandy’s use of multimedia added extra context to the story and draw the reader’s attention, along with bullets to break up the text and highlight key concepts (not to mention a concise headline that gets right to the point). And in addition to a headline that immediately answers the question “why should I care?”, Alaska Airlines’ release includes plenty of executive quotes to add credibility to the efforts (and which journalists can easily pick up and use for their coverage).

3. Sustainability Investments Ramp Up

Investors are still very active on the sustainability front. Capital is pouring in in both large and small quantities. More investments into ESG efforts translate to more opportunities to successfully transform businesses into sustainable operations.

In August, we saw companies work to build investor interest by announcing capital-raising milestones. Vanguard’s plans to launch a Global Environmental Opportunities Stock Fund show the commitment from top-level investors. And Proof of Impact, an ESG data platform, raising $6 million in Pre-Series A Funding shows investors’ commitment to sustainability startups.

Here are a few August press releases focused on sustainable investments:

What these brands get right: By publicizing this type of news, Vanguard and Proof of Impact are showing the world that ESG is a worthwhile investment, and other companies would be wise to follow suit while also signaling to stakeholders their values related to committing to ESG progress Bringing attention to the efforts companies are making and the impact of those efforts isn’t just good for the environment – it’s good for business.

The Takeaway:

The flow of ESG news won’t kick up its feet anytime soon, regardless of season given the need for year-round opportunities. Quieter periods make for an opportune time to announce new products, programs, and investments. Companies are also launching ESG-related hubs on their own websites – giving journalists a place to go for the latest ESG missions and achievements. More large announcements in sustainability are on the way, and companies that stay quiet on these issues are missing an opportunity.  

If you have an ESG story to tell about your brand, now is as good of a time as ever to shine a spotlight on it.