When does talking about sustainability become too risky?

3. Engage consumers to learn more.

The Clorox Green Works website says things like: "You don't have to be a trust fund baby to be green" and "You don't have to know how to pronounce quinoa [to be green]." These statements are slightly funny, but don't really provide consumers with practical information to make more sustainable everyday choices, other than using their cleaning products.

Companies that want to drive positive consumer behavior need to offer consumers ways to learn about greener choices  and not mock them  while moving beyond their own products.

4. Communicate your journey.

Each campaign mentioned is part of a larger corporate sustainability strategy, but those messages have gotten lost in each campaign.

McDonald's recent announcement is actually part of a greater story. The company has been MSC certified in the U.S. since 2005 and has been serving MSC-certified fish in Europe since 2011. The lesson: Firms need to communicate their larger sustainability story to add credibility to one-time campaigns.  

The more companies communicate their stories and engage everyone in productive dialogue   early on and often  the more their efforts will be viewed as authentic. Perhaps then more critics will be willing to acknowledge (and maybe tolerate) such risky moves instead of pointing fingers.

What's your take on how companies can engage consumers? Add your comments below or send them to me on Twitter @NayelliGonzalez.        

Bullhorn image by floeschie via Compfight cc.