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Why Does the SB Brand Transformation Roadmap Matter in an ESG-Driven World? Sustainable BrandsRead More

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ESG frameworks like Sustainalytics and MSCI help investors spot and manage risk, but the Brand Transformation Roadmap helps companies account for brand leadership and social or environmental value — all essential for a holistic sustainability strategy. What is a sustainable brand? The answer has varied over the years depending on who you asked. The Sustainable Brands team created the Brand Transformation Roadmap. This guide gives companies a roadmap for transitioning from a conventional business to a sustainable brand. It also includes a self-assessment tool that allows companies to assess where they are at the moment and chart the way forward. It provides a framework and definition of what a sustainable branding is. Companies can use it to assess their current status and then compare themselves to other companies. It can also be used internally to improve their performance. During this time, SB was perfecting his approach. I began receiving increasing calls from my firm asking for the same thing: “Help me improve our ESG scores.” As a way to improve their investor outcomes, increasing numbers of companies are working to improve their ESG scores and align their disclosures and actions with the ESG ratings/assessments they are seeking. As a marketing professional supporting clients dealing with sustainability survey fatigue, I was curious: “Does a business need both?” Do they really need the SB Brand Transformation Mapmap if they’re doing well in the ESG ratings game? Do I really need to give my clients another tool to ‘deal?’ when they are struggling to complete all the other questionnaires for Wall Street customers, etc. Yes. There are many reasons why this is true. Christopher Haasen is my co-author and long-standing partner in S&Z North America. Chris and the S&Z Team looked at the dimensions covered under the SB Roadmap versus the dimensions covered under flagship ESG frameworks, namely the MSCI ESG or Sustainalytics ESG risk ratings. The idea was to compare the scoring criteria. So, if a company scores well on the SB Roadmap would that be a leading indicator of a strong ESG rating. The SB Roadmap assessment tool could be used to predict good ESG ratings, and provide a shortcut for companies. S&Z investigated the consumer goods sector’s scoring. The conclusion is that ESG ratings help investors identify and manage ESG risks, not brand leadership. ESG ratings can help companies build strong ESG management practices and drive investor outcomes. However, the SB Roadmap can help companies make decisions around brand purpose and marketing influence to drive industry-wide change and brand favorability. Both are essential for a holistic sustainability strategy. How can a company make use of both frameworks? Here are four steps to help you determine which scores are most important to your investors and board. The relevant ESG scores/assessments can be used to inform, but not automatically determine, the ESG roadmap and reporting of your company. A workshop should be held with a cross-functional group. They should take the SB Roadmap assessment, and challenge each other to find out what is true and what can be improved. This session can be used to help you set your vision and purpose. The team will be more likely to work together and accelerate their sustainability transformation if they have a clear purpose and a culture. The vision and purpose setting-work can be used to build brand influence and internal alignment. ESG frameworks are great for reporting to investors and other experts, but the SB Roadmap is better suited to driving brand-led changes with consumers and employees. Bottom line: While your company’s ESG scores can help improve your ESG management, it is not enough to fully leverage your environmental, social, and other commitments, especially for consumer-driven businesses. The SB Brand Transformation Roadmap outlines the approach and ensures that the necessary building blocks are in place to create real change while also ensuring brand favorability. Published Sep 29, 2021 2pm EDT / 11am PDT / 7pm BST / 8pm CEST Suzanne Shelton CEO
Shelton Group Suzanne Shelton is the CEO of Shelton Group. Shelton Group is the nation’s most prominent marketing communications firm, with a focus on sustainability and energy efficiency. Christopher Haasen Christopher Haasen, Principal and Head of S&Z North America’s New York office, is a global ESG management consulting firm. Brand provided


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