Inside Out: Sustainability Communication Begins in the Workplace
This article focuses on the sustainability of different organizations. Sustainability is the ability of an individual or organization to maintain its performance in a certain field at a specific rate or level. Sustainability is achievable through improvements and collaboration from various stakeholders in the organization, as it is not the responsibility of an individual or a group but a collective responsibility. This article has used an example of Ford Motor Company to portray that sustainability communication begins in the workplace. According to this article, it is important for the organization to focus on communicating the act of sustainability to the staff within the organization or business before taking the same message to the stakeholders outside the organization. Communicating the efforts needed in sustainability within the business will encourage the staff to support the management in working hard for the organization to maintain sustainability and communicate its message to the stakeholders outside the organization. It is difficult for an organization to maintain sustainability without the support of the staff. The staff needs to understand sustainability starting from their respective duties and responsibilities in the organization.
As expressed in the Value Flow Model, sustainability has three pathways including direct contribution to the improved economic performance, key intangible value drivers outside the financial statements, and shareholder value through the creation of value for the external stakeholders. Motorola’s 2003 Global Corporate Citizenship Report is one of the value propositions that have combined such pathways while providing services to the customers and stakeholders. Many companies have neglected internal sustainability communication due to the external pressure exerted on them. Such companies focus on issuing reports that outside stakeholders can access for the benefit of sustaining competition, widening its market, and remaining relevant in the external environment. It is difficult for such a company to focus on the internal sustainability communication as their interest remains on the external stakeholders and environment. Additionally, focus on the external environment diverts the attention of the organizations as wells the resources from the employees who are the major stakeholders to the outside stakeholders.
Focusing on internal communication before proceeding to external communication is invaluable because it will help the organization to communicate through the employees, clear understanding from all stakeholders, cost-effectiveness, and strong internal understanding and commitment. Effective internal communication has certain principles including; taking a position, possessing linguistic common ground, being multilingual, leveraging the multiplier effect, and planning for the long haul. The organizations should focus on the internal sustainability communication before communicating the same message to the external environment and stakeholders.