Business Sustainability – Beware of Self Assessments

Most small businesses and corporations realize that if they make a mistake in public relations, it will come back and bite them. This is especially true when promoting your advances in business sustainability, advertising your zero carbon footprint, or PR’ing the fact that your business uses hybrid delivery vehicles or alternative energy. Likewise, it can get you into serious regulatory issues if you promote yourself as a green company, when you really aren’t.

This is why I often recommend that if you were going to do a business sustainability study, and really work hard to become a green and environmentally friendly company, you need to be careful when doing self assessments. It is far better to find a consultant or specialist to help you come up with the figures, and thus, make sure you didn’t miss anything, or that you are not hyping your alternative energy strategies or your business sustainability component.

Many companies have been noted in the media for hyping their greenness and then have been lambasted by environmentalists, competitors, or even the government. This can create a public-relations nightmare, one that even the best crisis management teams can’t solve. It usually occurs when a corporation or small business does an in-house study, comes up with some figures, and then goes off and claims to be something that they aren’t.

Just because your company has invested in hybrid delivery vehicles, solar panels on the roof of your warehouse or entered some new ingenious recycling program does not mean you can peg your carbon footprint at zero, or start making claims that are not true. And if you do, beware because such self assessments can get your brand name into trouble, the type of trouble that you may not be able to recover from in the minds of the consumers and customers that were once your best clientele. I hope you will please consider this.