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Actions to communicate your sustainable business practices

Tourism surveys show that consumer demand for sustainable businesses is increasing each year. This makes your journey to becoming net zero a powerful story to share with your staff, customers, partners, and other stakeholders. The benefits of you telling this story are:

  • improving your reputation with customers, the local community, and other business

  • attracting new or retaining staff

  • reducing the cost of running your business

  • attracting new customers

This page will help you assess the ways you share your sustainability journey responsibly, while suggesting good practice for keeping your staff and visitors engaged and informed. Learn more about how to communicate the importance of sustainability and climate action for your business.

Why sharing your story is important

Improved reputation

Businesses that prioritise sustainability are seen as responsible and ethical.

Customer demand

Sharing your sustainability journey through good content will influence decisions and emotions.

Share your learnings

Stay accountable and keep customers up to date by sharing your climate action progress so far.

Green credentials

Be part of a green certification scheme and attract visitors through your marketing.

Actions to communicate progress

There are many ways to communicate your sustainable business practices. The following are four actions to kickstart your journey to net zero over the next three years. You’ll find that you’ll be able to implement some straightaway. Others will require some upfront investment or will take some time to show their value.

Create a communication plan

Communication is a fundamental part of your net zero journey. The way you communicate your path to becoming a more sustainable business has a great impact for both your staff and potential visitors. Consider your core values and why it’s important to share your sustainability journey. 

Steps to take

  1. Create a communication plan. Download a simple communication plan template to get you started. Your plan should cover:

  • what you want to achieve

  • your key messages and themes

  • who your audience are and what content will resonate best with them

  • schedule of activity, tactics and channels (e.g. social media posts, newsletters, company website, etc.)

  • how you will measure engagement and activity

  1. Choose a communication lead. Decide who will be responsible for delivering your content and whether you / your staff are willing to be visible on your channels. This might be an opportunity to upskill yourself or members of your team.

  1. Don’t forget about employee communication. Talk to staff and volunteers about your business' journey to net zero. Doing so will spark innovative ideas and their successful implementation. Actively engaging with staff also helps with retention and recruitment.

  1. Evaluate what’s working (or not). Analyse your communication results and try new things until you find what works best for your business. This may be different on different channels.

Share your climate action journey

Now you’ve created your plan and know what you want to achieve, it’s time to put that plan into action. Research shows visitors are becoming increasingly aware of their impact on the world around them and are seeking out businesses who place an emphasis on sustainability.

Creative content is about giving your audience something they find interesting and relevant. To get the best results, share stories you know your audience will care about.

Steps to take

  1. Build your social media presence. Social media has become an important tool in engaging people with your business, whether they’re local or have plans to visit in the future. View our tips to improve your social media presence.
  2. Identify key business themes or topics. This could include your people, practical ways you’re working towards net zero, providing for your community or promotional content to attract sustainability focused visitors. Look out for relevant national or international days you can tag onto. Earth Day is a good example.
  3. Create a content planner. Begin posting your planned content. Remember, this doesn’t always have to be content you create yourself. There are many benefits to sharing content from others. So, look to reliable sources and share content that relates to your brand. Browse our tips to create engaging content.
  4. Highlight your commitment and progress to net zero. Aim for regularly putting out positive messaging to keep your followers and customers engaged.
  5. Be honest and transparent about your sustainable practices. Acknowledge that you’re on a track of gradually reaching net zero and support this with straightforward evidence or data. Visitors won't expect you to be perfect, but they do expect integrity and honesty.

Develop a sustainability report

It’s good practice to create a short annual sustainability report to tell others about actions you’ve taken and keep your business accountable. This can help you analyse your activity, assess your progress and celebrate success for the targets you’ve achieved.

Steps to take

  1. Create an annual sustainability report. This doesn’t need to be complicated or look fancy; it’s what’s in the report that matters. We’d suggest beginning by creating just a barebones report on Word. If you have a reporting template already, perhaps add a section on sustainability.
  2. Summarise learnings. You could start by summarising your achievements and learnings for the past year and ambitions for the next year. Do this after you have conducted your carbon audit as this will allow you to set out comparisons.
  3. Identify key sustainability themes. These should be the themes most important to your business. Don’t forget to set targets against these priorities.
  4. Use a concise writing style. This helps keep the task focused, manageable and gives you clearer targets for future years. Include the actions you’ve taken and what you learned, interpreting your progress so that you can adapt plans for the following year.
  5. Tell internal and external audiences. Communicate your report yearly across your channels (e.g. your website). It’s also worth creating an internal document where you can track progress and achievements against your key values and sustainability targets. Keeping your team involved along the way.

Get a green certification

Gaining certification is a crucial step to showcase your commitment to becoming more sustainable. It also provides you with another opportunity to match your commitment to your brand values and aspirations.

Receiving a green certification guarantees your customers that you’re putting your words into action. They can rely on your commitment, making it easier for them to choose to support you.

Steps to take

  1. Join a green certification scheme. Discover why your tourism business should join a green certification scheme and what schemes are available. Identify and apply to the scheme that suits you best and familiarise yourself with their expectations. Read our page on green certification schemes.
  2. Showcase your green credentials. Once you’ve received your award, communicate this via your website and across your other channels. Consider what content you could share with your audiences to strengthen their knowledge of your environmental commitments.

Measure your emissions and record your actions

This free climate action workbook gives you the tools to easily measure your business emissions and select actions to reduce them over time. You can track up to three years of data and pick the actions that work best for your business – from free, quick-wins to longer term investments.

contentform-climate-guide

Climate action plan

        Please read our privacy notice before proceeding. If you are unable to download the tool or wish to receive a copy without registering your details, you can email netzeroenquiries@visitscotland.com.

        Communication training resources

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