Sustainability is not an issue for the PR department

For the idea to this Blogbeitrag I may thank you my house bank: On a social media platform evenly this house bank switched a few days ago a paid advertising insertion to the topic lastingness. The insertion was badly done and questionable in content. A comment from me, in which I questioned the statement objectively, was politely answered. What remains is the feeling that one has not yet dealt with the dimension of the problem. 

Every day there are countless corporate news, advertisements, videos, commercials and posts in social media on the subject of sustainability, all of which have one thing in common: they are so superficial, so badly made and so transparent that they make a mockery of the elementary topic of sustainability. Sometimes it is obvious ignorance on the part of the creators, sometimes the lack of seriousness, often helplessness in the face of the great challenge of the matter itself. 

My first piece of advice on this topic is short and simple: the topic of sustainability has no place in PR departments if sustainable action has not previously been made the core strategy of the company and/or brand. 


My second advice is to replace the term sustainability with the word fairness. Fairness towards environment and people along the entire value chain. The central question of sustainability is therefore Do I or do we as a company treat all people in the value chain the way I want to be treated myself and is my or our treatment of nature along this value chain the same as I treat nature in my own garden? With this basic attitude, the word sustainability is much easier to understand. 

My third advice is to recognize the seriousness of the issue. It's not about advertising, it's not about us presenting ourselves better than other companies and brands. It is also not about a topic that environmental activists like Greta Thunberg play up, it is definitely not about a topic that can be dealt with by buying certificates. It is indeed about the future of our living space, about survival on this earth and about the way we humans want to live together. These are the issues at stake, no more and no less. 

In 2016, the United Nations created the SDG's, the "Sustainable Development Goals", a set of guidelines for securing sustainable development worldwide on an economic, social and ecological level. 17 goals were defined, which, with a term of 15 years (until 2030), can serve as a basis for every company to question and reorganize its own actions. 

Therefore my fourth advice: Take your time to study these 17 goals and to define procedures for your company and your brand for each individual goal. Define these goals, manifest them in your corporate values and only then assign your PR department with external communication. The world and your customers will thank you for it! 

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