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

Sustainability news has been a hot topic of conversation throughout 2022, and as we enter the second half of the year, it shows no sign of slowing down (thanks, in no small part, to record heat waves bringing climate change concerns to the forefront). As I’ll discuss below, press release trends in July indicate the various ways in which brands are creating opportunities to discuss ESG initiatives.

Below is a roundup of the ESG news trends we noticed in press releases sent via PR Newswire throughout July – and how PR and comms teams can learn from their example.

1. Getting Ahead of Regulations

Climate-related financials and initiatives are in the midst of undergoing regulation, and thanks to organizations like the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures and Science Based Target Initiatives, companies can get up to speed on meeting regulatory standards. Many are already taking steps to prepare for action – and they’re making sure the world knows it. For example, Yum China released a report this month about its alignment with the TCFD’s four pillars: Governance, Strategy, Risk Management, and Metrics and Targets.

Regulation has yet not been solidified, but by aligning with top-tier third-party research organizations, your company can stay ahead of the news and proactively take needed compliance steps if a change occurs. Either way, many organizations are already making plans and commitments that they’re communicating to the media and stakeholders.  

Here are a few recent examples:

2. Continued Collaborations

Sometimes achieving complicated goals is more manageable when two or more organizations to come together – a trend we’ve been seeing a lot lately in the world of sustainability. In July, for example,  Alaska Airlines, Microsoft and carbon transformation firm Twelve announced a collaboration to develop sustainable aviation fuel that reduces carbon emissions. But these aren’t the only companies working together to increase their chances for success.

Here are a few of the donations and commitments made in July:  

The lesson: When companies have a common goal — like reaching net-zero — working together helps them reach their target sooner. While you may not have control over if and how your organization chooses to collaborate with other organizations, the influence you hold can at the very least plant the seed for such initiatives – especially if you can show examples of what other organizations are doing (and doing well) that you could replicate.

3. Going Beyond the Press Release

While press releases remain a powerful way to communicate key announcements like earnings, sustainability initiatives or M&A, many companies realize that it takes multiple channels and touchpoints to connect with audiences (and that it’s more than just investors who are curious about this news).

In July, for instance, we saw as companies like Dell and Cisco announce webcasts and conference calls to further connect with shareholders and communicate their ESG initiatives. But even as they expand their communications channels, companies are highlighting their ESG webcasts via press releases to build awareness for not only their shareholders but the media as well.  

Here are just two examples of press releases inviting audiences far and wide to learn about companies' implementation of ESG services:

The Takeaway:

Now in the second half of 2022, the influx of ESG news is not slowing down. Brands seem to be taking every opportunity to discuss major initiatives in areas that are widely talked about in regulatory circles. With data providers, consultants and task forces on hand, companies can stay ahead of what regulators may opt for on climate disclosures.

In addition, collaborations are creating opportunities for companies to showcase their projects, operations and targets for sustainability. Lastly, organizations are leveraging their existing means of communication like webcasts and teleconferences to better connect with their audiences, which they’re promoting through press releases.

If you have an ESG story to tell about your brand, now is the time to shine a spotlight on them.