Tag Archives: podcast

Best practice examples and insights for communicating your net zero journey with SEFIANI [video]

There has been an increasing focus on ‘net-zero’ in the past few months, so from a communications perspective, it is difficult to differentiate your net-zero journey from everyone else’s. As more companies embark on their climate action journey, the challenge many face is whether to talk about it and how and when to meaningfully engage with stakeholders.

I recently had the pleasure to interview Robyn Sefiani, CEO & Reputation Counsel of Sefiani for the second episode of my “Driving Net Profit with Zero Emissions show, see video below. This blog post summarises our major discussion points.

Communicating your climate action efforts is important

In the past, there was no social media to connect and inform people, and importantly to galvanise action. A large proportion of the population was not engaged. Today, people are better informed and are demanding action.

Investors are also putting companies under increased scrutiny to disclose their climate risks and responses, for example through the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and the CDP.

The power of consumers and shareholders is pushing organisations to a more responsible position, including towards the need to reach net-zero emissions. Companies cannot afford to sit on the sidelines, which could result in damaged reputation, risk to operations, missed market opportunities, boycotts and a weaker talent pool.

However, many companies are announcing net-zero targets without a plan. They announce a timebound ambition to be net-zero without a roadmap, interim milestones or any clarity on how net-zero will be achieved and communicated to their stakeholders. Some companies are also reticent to communicate proactively, perhaps because they’ve been criticised in the past.

Saying nothing is no longer acceptable.

Changing consumerism and social licence to operate

According to a CapGemini study from 2020, 79% of consumers are willing to change their purchase preferences based on social responsibility, inclusiveness and environmental impact.

Taking this a step further, a study by Insites Consulting showed that 25% of Australians had boycotted a brand for sustainability reasons, compared to 14% just over twelve months ago. This behaviour is skewed towards younger generations, with 41% of Millennials reporting boycotting behaviour compared to just 6% of Baby Boomers.

Nowadays, people are genuinely looking at actions versus promises on sustainability and climate. People are watching to see if companies are doing what they said they would do. There are also plenty of activist groups with far-reaching influence that will call companies out when they fall short of their promises.

At the same time, people are also looking to support companies or brands that are doing the right thing. There is a huge opportunity for companies that are progressing with their net zero plans to meaningfully engage their audiences and galvanise support for their sustainability journey.

No room for greenwashing

Audiences today are too savvy to be fooled by greenwashing. Companies are facing intense scrutiny for taking shortcuts or failing to communicate with honesty, integrity and authenticity.

Brookfield Asset Management’s Mark Carney, a key climate finance leader and vice-chair at Brookfield, ‘walked back’ his remarks after claiming pollution had been neutralised across its portfolio. This is a company with an enormous renewables business, but it remains active in fossil fuels. The position of the company was that the renewables business compensated for the company’s other activities, but the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) does not count avoided emissions in its framework, which means the firm can’t use avoided emissions to meet net-zero claims without addressing its other operations.

In another example reported by Bloomberg, Rio Tinto, announced a 15% target reduction in operational emissions by 2030, which it claimed aligned with a 1.5° C pathway. However, climate activist group, Market Forces, disagreed with their calculations and said that alignment would require a 50% reduction in emissions over the same timeframe. Rio Tinto has now agreed to be more transparent with its targets and performance and will disclose short, medium and long-term targets for greenhouse gas emissions in its own operations.

One final example, was BMO, a Canadian Bank, that came under fire for its net-zero pledge, which was dismissed as “unambitious”. Adam Scott, director of Shift Action for Pension Wealth & Planet Health found that “a bank that is claiming climate leadership while financing fossil fuel pipelines is either greenwashing or doesn’t understand the urgent action the climate crisis necessitates.”

For many companies, aligning to the Paris Agreement requires learnings, risks and operating in new ways, and not everyone is going to get it right. Instead of misleading stakeholders, acknowledging a failure can help a brand to build social capital. This was the case for Charity Water, a non-profit organisation that disclosed that one of its water drilling projects had failed after one year. The head of Charity Water openly communicated the failed project, and came back with an action plan. When the team returned to drill a few months later, many more people had become invested in the story and were willing them on to succeed.

Best practice in communicating your climate action

As companies step up and transition to net zero, the question for many is what, when, where and how to communicate their journey.

With the rapid increase in public focus on transparency in corporate communications over the past five years, it is important to take a considered and strategic approach to communications across all stakeholder groups.

Our top 7 tips for companies to consider when communicating their net zero journey are:

  1. Regularly communicate proof of action: Frequent and consistent communication allows companies to build a voice on climate action and ultimately, that will help to build a bank of social capital.
  2. Differentiate yourself: Consider what your journey means for your company and your stakeholders, and how this is different from your competitors. As with any example of communications, no company will achieve cut-through if they cannot differentiate themselves.
  3. Be true to your brand: Demonstrate that sustainability is in line with your own brand positioning and not an add-on.
  4. Know your audiences: Different audiences have different expectations of engagement. A targeted multi-channel communications plan will allow you to engage with your audiences in a meaningful way and work towards establishing trust. Consider how you can empower your stakeholders – employees, shareholders, customers and partners – to take small actions that align with your commitment and come along with the company on its sustainability journey.
  5. Don’t discount employees: With the rise of ‘glass box’ company culture – a culture of transparency, prizing visibility of the company’s values, decisions and action – companies that have sustainability as part of their internal culture, will see it amplified through their employees.
  6. Be transparent: If you make a mistake or miss a milestone, take your audiences on your journey. Be honest, be human, and reiterate the goals of the journey.
  7. Keep it simple and inspiring: Audiences do not want the jargon or the doom and gloom. They want to know that you are taking action, through simple, clear and inspiring communications. A study by Greenbiz showed that videos positively depicting nature’s beauty and innovative climate change solutions were 50 times more effective at driving views than negative messaging or even a combination of positive and negative.

Communication plays a pivotal role in supporting a company’s net zero journey. There is a huge opportunity out there for companies and brands that can strategically use communications to bring their stakeholders on their journey with them.

About Sefiani Communications Group

Sefiani is a leading Australian strategic communications firm that helps companies enhance and protect brands and reputations Through a media relations, social and digital communications and stakeholder engagement, Sefiani solves complex business challenges and seizes opportunities for clients. The firm also works with clients to help them manage and share their sustainability journey in a way that is meaningful to their stakeholders, mitigates issues and builds brand reputation.

If you want to get in touch with Sefiani, please visit the following:

About 100% Renewables

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their climate action strategies and accompanying financing plans. If you need help with developing your climate action plan, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

CORENA – How one dollar spent can fund emissions reduction projects multiple times [video and podcast]

Introducing our new ‘Driving Net Profit with Zero Emissions’ show

If you’re following our ’Driving Net Profit with Zero Emissions’ Youtube channel, you may have watched some of our video series, such as how to achieve Climate Active carbon-neutral certification, setting a Science-Based Target, or Net-Zero strategies.

Today, I’m proud and excited to introduce our very own Driving Net Profit with Zero Emissions show. This show will provide businesses with best-practice and cutting-edge ‘net-zero’ stories. I’ll be the main host, and in every show, I will interview climate action leaders.

Today, we are releasing the video and the accompanying blog post of the first episode, but soon, we’ll release our podcast, so please stay tuned.

Ep. #1 with Briony O’Shea

For the first episode of the “Driving Net Profit with Zero Emissions” show, I’m interviewing Briony O’Shea, the Chair of Corena. Briony is a chemical engineer with a Master of Laws in International Law. She specialises in renewable energy and future fuels such as hydrogen and biogas to support the transition to a low-carbon future. She joined Corena in 2017 as a volunteer and took over the role of Chair in 2020.

Corena is a community revolving energy fund, which takes donations from people or organisations in the community to drive emissions reduction via a Revolving Energy Fund.

I’ve blogged about Revolving Energy Funds in previous articles. These funds are a great mechanism to finance climate action strategies. They are a self-sustaining funding mechanism, which you start with seed capital that you invest in sustainability projects, such as energy efficiency, water conservation, or solar projects, for example.

The fund’s unique feature is that you return savings from sustainability projects back into the REF to finance the next round of investments. In this way, you can spend funds multiple times to drive emissions reduction, resource and cost savings.

You can watch the full video of the interview here:

What is Corena?

Corena is a grass-root, donor-funded, not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers. The premise of the Corena model is a revolving fund to which supporters donate, and the provision of zero-interest loans to not-for-profit and community organisations to implement climate action projects. Examples of funded projects are installing solar panels, improving energy efficiency, switching away from fossil gas use, or purchasing electric vehicles.

To date, Corena has implemented over 40 projects Australia-wide, with most projects being solar PV installations and energy efficiency. Altogether, 663 kW of solar PV have been installed, generating over 1,800 MWh of renewable electricity. Corena has received donations of over $460,000, and because of the revolving nature of the fund, these donations have resulted in over $800,000 in loans given. They’re on track to exceed $1 million of loans given this year.

How does it work?

Corena raises funds to support climate action projects via donations from anyone keen to help tackle climate change. Corena provides zero-interest loans to community organisations to install solar PV or implement other climate action projects. As these loans are paid off by the recipient with the savings from their solar project, the money is re-loaned to another organisation.

What are the benefits?

There are several benefits for everyone involved. For Corena, every project they support is making a tangible difference in reducing emissions. The money donated is put to work immediately to reduce carbon emissions, and the donors can track the impact each investment makes.

For donors, the revolving fund model means that the money they donate for one project is repaid and goes on to fund another project, so a single donation amount can be utilised multiple times. Corena has an impact calculator on its website that demonstrates the revolving benefit of the donations they’ve received.

For the recipient organisation, there’s not only the benefit of themselves being able to be part of the climate solution and take direct action, but in doing so, they receive the benefits of reduced energy bills, which contributes to their bottom line.

What kind of organisations can make use of the funds?

Corena provides loans predominantly to not-for-profit organisations that don’t have easy access to funding to take climate action. Corena also looks at what service the organisation is providing the community. Corena goes through a process of assessing what each organisation’s needs are, and what projects or installations might benefit the organisation.

How can you apply for a zero-interest loan?

You are eligible to apply for a Corena loan if you are a non-profit community organisation, or if you are providing services to your community. A solar project may be suitable if your premises have regular daytime use, your roof is in good condition, and you either own your premises or have a secure long-term lease. An electric vehicle project may be suitable if you have vehicles with regular high usage.

To apply for a project loan, please go to Corena’s website, fill in and submit the online Expression of Interest form.

How can people participate?

If you want to support Corena, there are several ways how you can be involved.

  • Individuals: You can donate to the revolving fund, by visiting corenafund.org.au and choosing to donate to a project. You can elect to join as a volunteer, and there are many ways that volunteers can donate their time, whether it’s to provide social media support, IT, developing communications materials, or offering to approach other organisations to help identify new projects to fund. Individuals can also lobby their local government to take action by setting up a revolving energy fund for the community.
  • Organisations: You can donate to Corena, or you can identify climate action projects that Corena could fund. You can also help by fundraising via your own networks.
  • Local governments: You can donate, identify not-for-profit organisations within your community, and potentially on council premises, that would benefit from a Corena loan, and help connect with those organisations. You can also adopt the Corena model and set up your own fund to provide interest-free loans to residents or organisations within your community to take climate action. The Corena model is particularly useful for councils that have declared a climate emergency.

People can get in touch via Corena’s website and subscribe to Corena via email, eNews, or social media. You can also send a direct email to Briony@corenafund.org.au or office@corenafund.org.au.

To view or download this episode’s show notes/transcript, please click here.

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their climate action strategies and accompanying financing plans. If you need help with developing your climate action plan, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

“Go Renewable and Save” – Podcast featuring 100% Renewables’ Barbara Albert

“Go Renewable and Save”

Go renewable and save with 100% RenewablesThe average regional council can save ratepayers $1m per year by implementing a long-term sustainable energy plan and more and more councils worldwide and here in Australia are developing such plans.

This finding was revealed in a podcast published today by Steve Moore and Kris Wozniak from the PROCUREMENT CORNER, who have interviewed Barbara Albert, co-founder of 100% Renewables in their latest show ‘Go Renewable and Save‘.

The co-hosts and Barbara are discussing the international and local developments in this space and how they apply to organisations, and in particular councils. They are also discussing why local government should go renewable sooner rather than later.

If you would like to find out more about how much the average council can save by being more energy efficient and implementing renewables, please visit our page on ‘$1m for the average council‘.