PRHK's "Rethinking Sustainability Communications" panel discussion

PRHK's "Rethinking Sustainability Communications" panel discussion

PRHK hosted a panel this month which explored greenwashing, brand sustainability, issues management, and ways PR practitioners can engage consumers in these spaces.

Moderated by ReThink HK's Chris Brown, the panel featured Genevieve Hilton, Melanie Kwok and Sonalie Figueiras, who discussed the need for communicators to adapt within the rapidly changing world of sustainability communications. 

Key takeaways from the PRHK panel are as follows:
  • For sustainability communications, the devil is in the detail. Brands, particularly larger brands, that have been previously unaccustomed to communicating publicly about their sustainability efforts will need to revisit their comms strategies.
  • Sustainability and ESG comms extend beyond publicity and external stakeholders. It is important for a brand's internal stakeholders to be on the same page in terms of sustainability efforts, goals and terminology.
  • Aside from content production, must consider the communications methodology to ensure messages are transparent, effective, and accessible. 
  • Brands should make every effort to avoid greenwashing practices. While a brand may not intend to greenwash, its efforts to be perceived as environmentally conscious could outweigh its actual progress in this space.
  • For PR and communications practitioners, upskilling is key to avoiding greenwashing. As the standards for what is considered greenwashing consistently rise, those tasked with representing brands should understand how to spot the signs of greenwashing and greenhushing (which is the deliberate act taken by companies to not communicating about certain environmental initiatives in fear of being called out) in order to take the necessary steps to avoid them for their clients.
  • There is an ESG talent shortage in Hong Kong. It's important not only for employers to recognise and nurture ESG talent, but also for employees to dedicate their time to upskilling in the sustainability communications sector. 

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