SBC member communications transparency policy
Guidelines around SBC’s expectations for member communications to be shared via SBC channels, including communications criteria and a disclaimer around who is liable for information accuracy.
It’s one of SBC’s great pleasures, and core roles, to showcase member stories and achievements through our channels, showcasing and spotlighting the valuable mahi our members are currently undertaking in order to help inspire and empower others.
With an increasing focus on the need to avoid greenwashing, it’s also incredibly important for the brand reputations of both SBC and our members to ensure the stories we are sharing through our channels are honest and transparent.
Public focus on greenwashing is intensifying, which is something SBC is becoming more conscious of when building Pānui every week. It’s important our members are equipped with the latest tools and information to help them avoid greenwashing claims – this will also help give SBC greater confidence that the dozens of story ideas we receive each week have not only been substantiated as being accurate, but are also fully authentic and transparent about the sustainability challenges that remain.
To become a member of the Sustainable Business Council, an organisation must agree to meet our member commitments. These commitments follow the approach of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, of which SBC is the only New Zealand-based Global Network Partner. We expect our members’ communications and storytelling to be consistent with these commitments and the global best practice that underpins them.
The below is a useful ‘checklist’ to reference when developing sustainability storytelling for any type of internal or external communications.
SBC will assume member stories published publicly have met these criteria.
SBC member communications transparency criteria
√ The announcement or achievement featured in the communication must be meaningful and relevant, and not a distraction from a significant remaining sustainability issue.
√ Facts included in the communication have been substantiated as accurate and evidence of this has been documented internally.
√ The wording in the communication is clear and unambiguous. There is no wording that is vague or could mislead a reader about its meaning.
√ Any aims or goals outlined in the communication are backed up by action and a verified plan to achieve those aims.
√ No important information that could change the interpretation of the communication has been omitted from or hidden within the content.
√ The communication is authentic, transparent and does not shy away from acknowledging the full sustainability journey (importantly, the challenges that have not yet been addressed or solved).
Further resources and guidelines around sustainability storytelling and avoiding greenwashing are linked below for your reference.
- SBC Community of Practitioners Greenwashing recording
- New Zealand Commerce Commission guidelines
- Australian Competition & Consumer Commission guidelines
- Advice from Toitū Envirocare
- Toitū webinar on greenwashing
- Avoiding greenwashing in financial services advertising (Chapman Tripp)
The information shared through the Sustainable Business Council’s communications channels, including but not limited to our weekly Pānui newsletter and our social media profiles, includes information that has been written, released and hosted by third parties.
While the Sustainable Business Council makes reasonable efforts to identify that information we share is accurate, we rely on our members and third parties to ensure the accuracy of information we share on their behalf and that this information remains accurate over time. The Sustainable Business Council does not take responsibility for the reliability of information originating outside of our organisation and does not accept any liability for any loss suffered as a result.
This disclaimer was developed with legal support from Chapman Tripp.