In the search for new directions in which to steer communication, in this late-pandemic era this question becomes increasingly more important.
How can I express the company’s attention – in its products and through its collaborators – towards the communities where it operates, the surrounding and global environment, the occupational and working equilibrium: these are the first points that need to be addressed when meeting with a businessperson who wants to develop an innovative communication project consistent with their development strategies.

Market demands are increasing: customers expect a commitment from the brand to the natural and social ecosystem in which it operates. The complexity in dealing with suppliers is increasing: who is able to guarantee the development of a fair-trade production chain? The sensitivity of human resources with regard to the social impact of the company is increasing: young people are more and more choosing where to work according to clear statements on the environment, rights, attention to relationships.

At the origin of this cultural turning point is the report “Our Common Future” (or Brundtland Report), published by the United Nations Commission on Environment and Development in 1987, in which we read “sustainable development is that development which allows us to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own”.
34 years have passed and six key-words arose from that document that we find in a more or less stable way in all the communication projects of recent months; we can identify 6 couples (cfr. Strategy Innovation 2020):

Market vs Social Need In reality, the 2030 Agenda, approved by the United Nations in 2015, has relaunched the goals of sustainable development, offering a broader perspective than what was outlined in the original Brundtland Report.
A series of targets and goals have also been defined in order to substantiate the actions necessary to achieve the 17 objectives that encompass the multiple facets of
Reading them we find a very broad perimeter of actions: from the fight against poverty to the protection of ecosystems, from the fight against climate change to technological development aimed at promoting industrial transformation.
How can these goals be achieved? What is the brand’s role in bringing this organisational and cultural change to life within companies?

The 6 couples make up what today appears as a Rubik’s cube still waiting to be solved: energy recovery must be combined with the needs of transporting goods and renewal of production areas, charity given at the end of the year to do green washing must come to terms with an increasingly direct and unmediated relationship with customers who – also through social media – can praise or destroy a company’s social responsibility. A gift (see the charitable initiatives in support of hospitals during lockdown or liberal donation to the fans of a brand decided through Twitch) passes under the magnifying glass and risks derailment, just as corporate welfare must translate into real actions for the well-being of employees.
In the end we find ourselves clicking on the CSR heading on the company website, and having to reckon with a predictable and superficial list of actions that touch neither the customer’s heart nor the territory in which the company operates.

The road to sustainability requires frequent investments and checks: there are those who risk swerving off that road and those who proceed too slowly. The direction (the purpose) is this: taking the first step is not enough.