Sustainability goals are great, but milestones are better

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While many companies have been talking about green tech for a while, a little one year ago Larry Fink, Founder, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock, one of the world’s largest investment management companies, published a letter that stated, “Climate change has become a defining factor in company’s long-term prospects.” This set off a mad rush, with companies quickly setting and announcing their sustainability plans and goals.

It’s absolutely wonderful to see so many companies – from big to small – take climate change seriously and set ambitious goals for themselves. The work to become carbon neutral or negative by making changes to materials, supply chains, manufacturing and shipping is immense, but there’s never been so many people collectively focused on this mission.

As companies tell their sustainability stories, it’s important to remember that checkpoints are really, really important. Setting and sharing milestones shows customers, partners, and media that companies are serious about the goals they set and are committed to delivering – even if the road they take to accomplish those goals is windy.

This can often be forgotten about – updates on progress aren’t as shiny and exciting as big announcements about ambitious goals – but milestones are critical to showing that a brand can and should be trusted, and that a company is committed to its promises. Furthermore, milestones are what can often tell the most interesting stories.

When telling a company’s story, media aren’t just interested in an attention-grabbing headline, it’s the work that goes into make things happen. The people who grind it out day after day, the challenges that had to be overcome, the decisions that had to be made, and the success that was found in all of that complexity. That’s where there’s a special and unique story that others can learn from.


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