Is sustainable communication a shield to defend yourself with, or is it a sword you can use to conquer new markets? This question was at the heart of the sustainable communication workshop organised in the MPS Green Corner on 26 October in preparation for this week’s Trade Fair in Aalsmeer. Sustainability has many different aspects, making it a container that consumers and producers can each fill with their own interpretations. Marjolein Baghuis *, one of the speakers at this workshop, looks at sustainability from four different angles: environment, social, good governance and finance. When you examine these four angles, it is clear that they are not always equally relevant for everybody. Accordingly, it is important to always consider the information needs and level of knowledge of the target audience when engaging in sustainable communication.

What is relevant to whom, and why? You can use these questions to make specific choices. If you communicate sustainable topics that are not top of mind at the time of communication, your message will fail to hit its target and will not garner a positive response from the market. Examine the relevance of your message to ensure that you are choosing the right ‘sword’ to conquer new and existing markets. You can always defend, but it’s usually not the best way to position your primary communications.

By choosing the right ‘sword’, you can turn the sustainable spotlights on the horticulture industry, and your own business, without resorting to any defence mechanisms. Of course you can set off alone, and you might be better off at first, but ultimately, working together will take you farther. That is the idea behind the MPS platform: www.followyourflowerorplant.com. A ‘sword’ for the horticulture industry to help present itself as a sustainable industry, in this case to consumers. Determining which of the four angles is key in this respect, is a challenge we all have to face.

* Marjolein Baghuis supports companies and other organisations in developing sustainable communication and strategy, including Tony Chocolonely. For her own agency, Change in Context, she writes blogs about developing a sustainable economy.