A new year starts, and the curtain opens once again and many companies fill their agendas with endless lists of resolutions. One of them is always to improve communication with their audiences. But we don’t always have time, and we end up planning based on what we know best. If you work in the sustainability sector and you are planning your communication and marketing strategy for this new year, this article will give some indications on the big issues that we foresee will have a pull in the sector (and in the press), as well as the appointments that you cannot miss.
Sustainability communication keys
Even though we can’t predict what’s new in sustainability this year, looking at the trends of 2023 we can find some clues of topics that we believe will have a lot of pull in the media:
- SDGs will remain at the forefront
Who hasn’t heard about the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs in their company yet? These goals adopted by world leaders in 2015 will be the top priority for any entity until 2030. In fact, 2024 is a key year in this regard: the UN has set this year as the deadline to prevent a climate catastrophe. Companies must act quickly to reduce emissions so that the damage to the planet is not irreversible. Any communication strategy should integrate the company’s work to achieve one of the SDGs of this sustainable development agenda as a priority, with the aim of ensuring the real impact of corporate sustainability, based on proven facts.
- Greenwashing is no longer valid
In recent years, greenwashing has been a practice implemented by some companies to try to convince of their positive actions for the planet… even if they were not entirely true. This year, sustainability is no longer a complement, but an imperative, a fundamental requirement for buyers, who are more informed before opting for one product or another. Therefore, companies that want to share their progress in sustainability must demonstrate it in a substantiated way, with data and visible and verifiable actions. Communication professionals now have the responsibility to create strong communication strategies that allow us to make corporate sustainability visible and successful.
- Application of European regulations
Given the urgency of change to reverse the impact of business activity on the environment, in recent years we have seen an increase in regulatory measures, especially by the European Union, to force companies to respect human rights and the environment.
One of the most talked-about is the CSRD Directive, which aims to encourage corporate sustainability and transparency. Basically, it requires companies to report on their sustainability. The regulation is being implemented this year for certain companies, so it will be very important to keep it on your radar as experts in sustainability communication.
Another regulation to watch out for is the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) to ensure that companies identify and address adverse impacts of their actions, including in their value chains. This year it will be approved and it will be the turn of the countries to transpose and implement it in national legislation. It is therefore a priority for companies to start studying how it will affect them and how they should act to adapt to this regulation.
Therefore, we will have to follow sustainability legislation closely as a key information topic in 2024.
- Electric vehicles will continue to be an upward trend
Portem uns quants anys sentint parlar de vehicles elèctrics, però sembla que en els pròxims anys aquesta tendència anirà in crescendo. Per diverses raons.
We have been hearing about electric vehicles for a few years now, but it seems that in the coming years this trend will continue to grow. There are several reasons for this.
First, because the market for zero-emission cars in Spain is growing steadily. This is demonstrated by reports such as that of PWC, which estimates that 95% of new cars registered in 2030 will be electric (55%) or hybrid (40%). According to AEDIVE, registrations of 100% electric vehicles grew by 60% in November compared to the figures for the same month last year. Henrik Bergman, regional director of Charge Amps in Spain explains that “constant technological advances are allowing more economical and better equipped zero-emission cars to appear. In addition, due to the emergence of new electric models, prices will fall in the coming years due to increased supply.”
As a second issue, the extension of the aid and subsidies of the Moves III Plan until July 2024 (initially ended at the end of 2023). As a consequence, we expect the purchase of vehicles and the installation of charging points to continue to grow.
This growth scenario leads us to believe that the electric vehicle ecosystem and its evolution will definitely be a topic to talk about this year.
- Spain as a leading market in sustainability
Of course, there is still a long way to go if we want Spain to be among the most advanced countries in terms of sustainability. But it is true that this 2023 we have seen how some reports endorse the progress of our country in some sustainable points.
For example, in terms of decarbonization, Spain is ahead of the global average. According to the Carbon Action Report 2023, based on the analysis of 24,500 companies around the world by EcoVadis, the leading provider of corporate sustainability ratings, 77% of companies worldwide are still in the initial phase of their decarbonization process, while in Spain the percentage of companies in this situation is 74%.
If we put the focus on sustainable mobility, the first Electric Mobility Yearbook of the Business Association for the Development and Promotion of Electric Mobility in Spain and Portugal (Aedive)1 shows that 38% of public electric charging infrastructures in operation in Spain were installed in 2022, placing the country in 5th place in the EU.
As Casper Rasmussen, CEO and co-founder of Monta explains: “there is a huge national potential in terms of EV deployment that has not yet been unlocked”. The company has just chosen Barcelona as the location for its operations center. “It was an obvious choice. Barcelona is one of the benchmark locations for technology in Europe, especially if you want to recruit a diverse and high quality international team” explains Rasmussen.
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- Fairs and events in the sustainability sector in 2024 (In Spain)
Some of the key sustainability events that we recommend to address within the communication strategies are two major sustainable mobility events: the eMobility Expo: it arrives in February in Valencia and is one of the most interesting global fairs on sustainable mobility; or the Global mobility Call, an interesting international event (congress + exhibition) on Sustainable Mobility that connects all industries and allows networking between companies, administrations and other organizations.
In addition, we can follow other events focused on recycling, such as the International Fair of Recovery and recycling, the future of cities as The Cities Forum or the SmartCity Expo in Barcelona … and many more.
Beyond fairs and events, we must not lose sight of major international meetings, such as the United Nations Decade Conference for the Oceans 2024, or the Summit of the Future that brings together world leaders to manage the challenges we face and safeguard the future. We are sure that all these events will be of interest in terms of information this year that has just begun.
Key Dates in the Sustainability Sector in 2024
International days related to the environment help us to prepare our communication strategy in time and link our messages to key moments at international level. Some international and global days to keep in mind as communicative hooks are:
- January 28 – World Day of Action against Climate Change.
- March 5th – World Energy Efficiency Day.
- March 21 – Forest Day.
- March 22 – Water Day.
- April 22 – World Earth Day.
- May 17 – International Recycling Day.
- June 5 – World Environment Day.
- June 8 – World Oceans Day.
- September 16 – European Mobility Week.
- September 16 – International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.
- October 21 – World Energy Saving Day.
- October 24 – International Day against Climate Change.
Professionals who work in corporate communications know this sector is constantly changing. But the field of sustainability (whether economic, social or environmental) is one of the fastest moving. We see new terms, regulations from governments and European institutions, measures and business initiatives almost daily. At LF Channel we have been working in this exciting environment for more than two decades, supporting organizations to communicate their sustainability management and ESG measures effectively, enhancing brand value and generating high visibility.