Being seen as a sustainable business may provide economic, social and other important benefits. However, this requires careful communication with customers and other stakeholders. In a world of greenwash and superficial concessions to environmental responsibility, how can businesses show the real impact of their sustainability efforts, in a way that will be believed?
Research is underway at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) in the UK, to explore the possible benefits of using information graphics to explain such data. While visual techniques are frequently used in business to show financial data or resource flows, they are currently under-used for showing environmental contributions. The research at ECEHH aims to assess the use of information graphics for effective communication around sustainable business practices, with a focus on the impacts of the environment on human health. This research aims to establish:
- What different businesses feel they need to communicate about sustainability
- To which stakeholders
- The advantages and disadvantages of graphical presentations for such communications
- How these presentations might be produced (through individual design or automated tools, for example)
Many businesses have a significant role to play in reducing carbon emissions, and limiting their use of important resources such as fossil fuels, energy and water. Data produced by the UK‚s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that business is the third-largest producer of carbon emissions in their analyses (see attached diagram). Graphical information presentation may provide ways of making important, but intangible environmental commitments more visible. Giving relevant information in an accessible form means that stakeholders can access data for themselves. For customers, investors, employees, local communities and other stakeholders, seeing is believing.
>> Seeing is Beleiving PDF