It may seem noble to do the right thing without telling others, but it’s a mistake for a brand or business owner to keep its sustainability story under wraps. 70% of consumers in the U.S. and Canada think it’s important for a brand to be sustainable.
Is your company telling its sustainability story and highlighting its environmental impact where people can find it?
Sharing your sustainability story on your website helps you stand out from competitors, attract new customers, build trust, and increase sales. 87% of buyers say they will buy a product because the company supported an issue they care about.
What is a sustainability story?
A brand’s sustainability story should provide context and clearly share the “why” behind its sustainable decisions and business practices. The narrative should provide insight to customers about what has influenced your sustainability actions and goals—where you’ve been on your sustainability journey, current practices, and where you plan to grow with measurable steps to get to your future state.
Your story could include a product lifecycle analysis (LCA), explain carbon emissions goals, break down sustainable packaging practices and carbon neutral events, or showcase unique sustainable partnerships. If you’re unsure where to start, use the United Nations Sustainable Development goals to outline current and future practices. But watch out, greenwashing is gross, so avoid embellished or dishonest stories. We all make mistakes, but a false sustainability claim could hurt your brand reputation.
Why sharing your sustainability efforts is important
Sustainability stories are important because they create transparency, improve brand reputation, increase customer loyalty, and provide new partnership opportunities. Brands want to partner with organizations that make them look good.
A great sustainable story can increase your application pool and improve employee retention. 85% of millennials say it’s important that brands implement programs to improve the environment.
Convinced? Here’s what to do next…
How to tell your sustainability story (with examples)
There are eight places on your company’s website you should be telling—at least part of—your sustainability story. Find out where your company shines and where you could tell your sustainable story better.
1. Create a sustainability page or section on your website
If sustainability is a core part of your product or offering, you likely need a sustainability page. Be careful not to dump facts in one section of your website or one page without context and assume you’ve told a story—you likely haven’t. (At least not one people want to read!)
People will remember where you’ve been, where you’re going, the why, and the people that impact your transformation. Make sure to weave relative, impactful data into the story. Include the following on your sustainability page to tell the full story:
- Case studies
- Success stories
- ESG and CSR reports
- LCA reports
- FAQ section
- Sustainability reports that include your carbon footprint and progress toward goals (for example, here’s Sustain.Life’s UNGC Communication on Progress)
- Sustainable partners
Some brands may not need a dedicated sustainability page—that’s ok! There are other places on your website to tell your shorter sustainability story.
Sustainability page example: Allbirds
Popular shoe brand, Allbirds weaves sustainability into everything they do. It has a whole sustainability section that tells its comprehensive story. We love the interactive timeline that paints a picture of the brand’s past along with its 2025 and 2030 goals.
2. Share your sustainability story on your home page
Include a section for sustainability on your home page. Because people only spend about 62 seconds on your home page, make sustainable information easy to find.
Showcase the most impactful information—note sustainable industry certifications, like 1% for the Planet membership or B Corp certification. You can also create a positive first impression with the equivalent number of trees planted as part of your offset efforts or dollars donated to conservation organizations. This section signals to the reader that your organization is doing its part to protect the planet.
Use a call to action to guide conscious consumers to more information. This button should lead to a page that contains your full sustainability story (like your sustainability page, about page, or FAQ).
Home page example: Knork
This flatware brand highlights its biodegradable and reusable product line on its homepage—it’s a nod to those that care about sustainability that it cares about sustainability, too.
3. Showcase your sustainability story on your about page
An about page provides businesses with an opportunity to tell their sustainable story in tandem with the overall brand story. Connect with shoe lovers, lipstick wearers, or software purchasers through your overall mission.
An about page can be a great place to host your full sustainable story if it’s short. For sustainable businesses, add one section on sustainability that connects to your sustainability page.
About page example: Made Trade
The folks at Made Trade create sustainable, ethical furniture. The brand’s about page highlights vegan, recycled and upcycled, and sustainable products (among other values) with brief blurbs and shop links.
4. Use product descriptions to tell a sustainability story
Product descriptions are often missed opportunities to tell sustainability stories, especially for retailers and direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands that run ads. Remember, shoppers might not visit another page on your website, so be sure to highlight your sustainability standards in product descriptions.
Here are a handful of ways to make your product pages stand out:
- Manufacturing process (e.g., if you use renewable energy)
- Product materials (especially if you use recycled materials)
- Supply chain emissions
- Carbon neutral shipping, products, or production
- LCA information
One of the biggest mistakes brands make when writing their product descriptions is not including info about the end-of-life options for the product. This description helps buyers know if you have a buyback program, if the item is compostable, recyclable, reusable, or if it should go to the landfill.
About page example: Huppy Toothpaste
Huppy’s interactive product pages include benefits, reviews, ingredients, and how to dispose of the packaging (since you’ll never need to dispose of its aluminum toothpaste container).
5. Help prospective employees understand your sustainability mission on your careers page
If sustainability is one of your core values, your careers page needs to help tell your sustainability story. Nearly 40% of millennials have taken a job due to the organization’s sustainability practices, even if it means a $5,000 to $10,000 pay cut. There is a high likelihood these numbers will only increase as Gen Z comprises more of the workforce.
Increase your application pool by including:
- Information about your sustainable initiatives
- Sustainable facts about your building (e.g., if solar panels power your office)
- Specifics around carbon offsetting and mitigation practices
- Sustainable philanthropies you support
- Your sustainability mission statement
- Opportunities for employees to get involved
Only include this information if your organization takes sustainability seriously. Otherwise, you’ll attract candidates that will look for the closest exit when they find out they’ve been duped.
Careers page example: Pela Case
Pela, makers of phone cases and other tech accessories frames its sustainable practices on its careers page. The brand describes sustainability as “Embracing courage by taking action despite uncertainty”.
6. Reveal more of your sustainability story through FAQs
If someone has a question, they’ll likely end up on your FAQ page. Sustainable FAQs are a great way to create transparency with interested customers. Brands should include some sustainable information here. At a minimum, include one question that enables you to link to your full sustainability story. At maximum, add a section that details your sustainability practices.
Source common questions from your customer success team, or use social listening to find common threads in emails, reviews, and on social media.
FAQ page example: Girlfriend Collective
This active apparel brand leaves no stone unturned when it comes to its FAQ page—it has 11 help articles on sustainability and manufacturing to provide customers with extra transparency.
7. Write in-depth sustainability stories on your blog
Blogs—and podcasts, videos, and social media content—are a great place to connect with like-minded customers. Create a content marketing strategy that provides helpful information for your ideal customer with pieces of your sustainability story. While your blog and social channels don’t have to be all sustainability, they’re a good place to mention sustainable practices and achievements.
Write blog posts about:
- Issues related to your causes
- Your unique sustainability processes
- New sustainable milestones and accreditations
- Sustainability in your industry
Be kind, inclusive, and sincere when you tell your story, especially on your blog—it could be someone’s first interaction with your brand. Blogs can help provide transparency for customers—they create connections through shorter stories that don’t have to be just your sustainability story. Plus, you’ll increase brand awareness and SEO.
Blog example: Spark Interiors
For Spark Interiors, every other blog post addresses a topic at the intersection of interior design and sustainability to educate folks about remodeling or building a new home.
8. Signal your commitment to sustainability in your footer
If someone scrolls to your footer, they’re likely invested in your brand in some way. Use your footer to tell a short story. Include:
- Certifications like B-Corp
- Carbon neutral or net-zero commitment
- Relevant industry standards like Fairtrade
- Green web hosting
Your site’s footer ensures that no matter what page someone’s on, they’ll leave knowing you do business the right way. These noteworthy certifications and accomplishments will also add credibility to your story.
Footer example: Mightybytes
Digital agency, Mightybytes shares its certifications and commitments right before its footer, with helpful links to blogs about its B-Corp certification, positive impact, and code of ethics right in the footer.
It’s time to spread your sustainability story
Sustainability stories are living, breathing things and never stop. Each year, re-examine the stories you tell and how you tell them. What did you accomplish? What improvements do you still hope to make? Don’t wait for the end of the year to share relevant news. Your customers and prospects will appreciate the updates.