2 things that will change how we look at sustainability

Published April 13, 2021, 1:21 p.m. by Jimmy Håkansson

In modern marketing, diversity is just as important as the environment. Spoon’s sustainability expert, Gabriella Wiiala, explains materiality assessment and perspective density – and why you need to work with both.

Most of us agree that we live in an era where sustainability is the only way forward. Yet many companies choose to keep quiet about their sustainability work.

“When it comes to talking about sustainability, many suffer from imposter syndrome,” says Gabriella Wiiala, business director at Spoon and president of Diversity Charter Sweden. “There’s a lot to gain by talking about it, even though it’s not perfect.”

Since sustainability has been on the agenda for years, many organizations believe some actions are a given and don’t need to be shown. But Wiiala disagrees.

“My main message is that communication is the key to all change.”

But what to do if you do not know where to start?

1. Materiality assessment

“With a materiality assessment you can identify the sustainability challenges ahead for your business. When you know the aspects that you need to work on – and get better at – you’ve got a great starting point for a conversation about sustainability.”

The materiality assessment is a tool for finding the areas most important for your business, and can be used as a blueprint for your communications platform. Easy peasy, right?

“You must always be able to back up what you say. If you claim that you are climate friendly – you best be able to show it. When people who don’t know your action plans are in charge of your sustainability communication…that’s when greenwashing happens. The same applies to diversity and inclusion. If the team itself is not diverse, you risk getting tangled up in prejudices and your communication becomes blunt.”

Gabriella Wiiala can recall several occasions where a homogeneous communication team resulted in problematic content – even though the intentions were good. However, there is a way to avoid this.

2. Perspective density

“It’s called perspective density and it refers to the quantity of perspectives represented in a group. By recruiting people to your communication team who represent more perspectives, you’ll get more nuanced communication,” she says.

To get better at diversity, it is not enough to choose the right stock photos, it is a matter of choosing the right people. In this transformative age success is not only measured in bookends. Working with and talking about sustainability and diversity is not something that happens alongside the core of the business – it is part of the business.

“Modern entrepreneurs seldom present a business idea that affects the climate adversely or is excluding. That road is closed. Today, entrepreneurship is not just about making a profit, but also about driving development. Communicating your progress and adding to the cycle of knowledge will be crucial for all companies’ positioning and opportunities in the future,” says Gabriella Wiiala.