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Keeping you in-the-know on environmental, social and governance developments

Not just because I am a writer, but I’ve long held that the way sustainability and ESG are communicated is critical to program success – or failure. One big challenge is that folks typically responsible for these communications tend to do so in a way that is best or easiest for us, not the audience. I was surprised recently by something that demonstrates the importance of this.

A couple weeks ago, I reposted a LinkedIn video about how our words are perceived by others. The post was circulated to the LinkedIn ESG, CSR and sustainability groups to which I subscribe and has been viewed 7,500 times – more than any other post of mine I can remember. If you haven’t watched it, it’s worth a few moments – the speaker even highlights climate change.

Another interesting lesson comes from north of the border. Bloomberg wrote about how Canada successfully implemented a carbon tax in large part by changing what they called it:

“Catherine McKenna — the minister for environment who was tasked with deploying carbon-pricing nationally — joined the Zero podcast to share lessons that could help other countries in replicating this. A lot of it came down to the language of how the policy was described, she said:

If you start off looking at polling, the polling is terrible. If you say, ‘do you want a carbon tax?’ Terrible, terrible, terrible. What about carbon pricing? A little bit better. What about putting a price on pollution? Better. No longer free to pollute? Best.”

I’ve blogged before about the importance of how we as ESG, CSR and sustainability professionals communicate and it is the fundamental theme of my book. Especially now in an era of greenwashing, rising litigation based on ESG claims/messaging and even greenhushing, our words have never had more significance.

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile