Storytelling with Impact

April 3, 2024

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  We've curated the best   images for you.

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  Unlimited use from $23   per month.

In the following article, Kristine Nagle shares her expertise on how to leverage storytelling to communicate a sustainability strategy.

When companies first think about their sustainability strategy, many questions come up. There are discussions about the actions to take and the meaning behind them. There’s concern about the potential risks and the timeline for getting ROI from the investment. But one aspect that is very often left out is the story your company will tell.

If your company is working on your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or sustainability, communication is an inevitable part of it. You will need to tell your investors, customers, and employees what you are doing and why. I believe that for an impact story to be impactful, you must start with the end in mind. And thanks to this book, I will share with you some useful ideas on how to make the most of it.


Person attending to bees


1. Who cares?

And what do they care about? When you’re telling your company’s impact story, you should consider each audience’s interests. Your employees and local community may have different expectations from your company than your customers or investors.

For example, many tech companies are pursuing the journey of carbon neutrality. That is one of the most important aspects of any company’s sustainability journey, but it can’t be pursued at the expense of taking good care of employees.

For a software company or a start-up, the actual carbon footprint is tiny (in comparison with a company in the transport or manufacturing industry). The most important ingredient of any tech company is its talent and people. So having publicity because you’ve reached carbon neutrality is nice, but not if your employees are burning out because of the work culture or lack of inclusivity.

2. Understand what metrics add value to your story

Whenever you say anything regarding sustainability publicly, you have to have data to back it up. Claiming your solution is green without the data to back it up is greenwashing.

Based on the industry you’re operating in and the business model, you should develop a set of metrics you measure internally.

For example, if your company is offering solutions for the manufacturing industry, start measuring how much energy, water or materials you help save your customers. If your solution improves the efficiency of a car fleet, track how many liters of fuel or km of driving you’ve helped to save.


Person analysing metrics and graphs on a computer screen


3. Turn data into impact and make us care

Any of the metrics I mentioned previously can be turned into CO2. And once you have that, you can easily compare the impact to something your target audience understands. Liters of water can be turned into pools of water, and kg of aluminum could be turned into a number of shipping containers full of it. CO2 footprint can be explained using km of driving a car. Turn the metrics into something tangible, and it’s easier for me to care about the positive impact you have.

Every company has its story. The story of why the company exists and how it was founded. Your company’s story has to resonate with your audience, it has to make them want to work with you. And if you claim to have any positive impact on the people or the planet, it has to have proof.

About the author

Kristine Nagle is the Founder and Sustainability advisor of Impact House. Impact House is helping fast-growing tech companies launch and scale sustainability. Her experience includes managing accelerator programs at Startup Wise Guys, gaining a global network as the CEO of TechChill, and recently building a sustainability strategy for the first Latvian unicorn, Printful.

Kristine Nagle

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