Getting stakeholders – employees, investors or customers – on board with an ESG (Environmental Social and Governance) mindset all starts with understanding the environmental and social challenges we face. Without that understanding, we will have individuals following protocol and paying lip service. If we want stakeholders who are as fired up as us, who are loyal to us because they understand our purpose; they need to know why we have that purpose in the first place, and why we desperately need to move towards a more people and planet focused society.
It is well established that development towards a more sustainable society must begin with education. When education is done right, it not only teaches people about the science of climate change, inequality, and the reasons we must take action; it also engages, empowers and promotes a more environmentally friendly community-based way of life.
Financial literacy is also linked with boosted economies – people make better choices when they understand what their money is doing. Education for clients of Fintechs should focus not only on the ESG aspect but also on financial education – this will impact the bottom line, but just as significantly, it will also positively impact your clients’ lives.
Knowing all of this, I was so excited that Richard Dickson at Play It Greenwas able to get together for a chat about how they approach climate-based education. I admire the way Play It Greenapproaches business; tree-planting is a primary part of the business and impacts the environment and society, but I appreciate that this way of doing business is embedded into who they are.
Richard told me they were a part of the Better Business Act Coalition and are signed up to the Good Business Charter – this keeps them accountable for treating their people equitably and working towards a cleaner and more fair society. They also invest 50% of their profits into sustainable start-ups.
Richard also recognises that whilst planting trees is essential, more is needed. He told me that Play It Green have a 3-step solution to climate change:
- They reduce footprints by a drip-feed of education, tips and access to discounted sustainable products and services.
- They repair the planet and rebalance footprints by planting trees.
- They regive 10% to good causes of members’ choice.
This focus on not overwhelming people, creating a community, and encouraging collaboration between members is what will ultimately get your stakeholders on board. Overwhelmed people are often unable to take the action you want them to take – if all people see are huge problems which seem insurmountable, they will struggle to act. Play It Green educates in a way that empowers people – drip-feeding solutions rather than providing mind-boggling problems, encouraging people to act and choose where they donate. This self-reliance enables them to do the right thing, to keep thinking creatively and maybe come up with more solutions.
Doing the right thing when it comes to the environment triggers the brains internal reward system and provides people with a hit of dopamine, the happy drug, which reduces anxiety and makes a person feel more positive about their actions.
This in turn reinforces the positive behaviour change and makes it ‘sticky’ rather than just being a fad. Repeat this enough times and you create culture change, which is what we all need!
How could your business use this model of education for action? If tangible, understandable, and solutions-focused education is what gets people excited about making changes, how can you teach your stakeholders about the importance of your ESG strategy? And where else could you take this education method? How will you gently be guiding your clients towards making better financial, social and climate-based choices that positively impact your society, climate and business?
The critical takeaway from everything that Richard does with Play It Green is to keep everything manageable, bite-size, and based on solutions. Whatever you decide to teach your stakeholders, don’t overwhelm them. You want them active, participating, feeling creative, and ready to take action!
Just remember, education doesn’t mean the formal type of knowledge sharing, it can be informal conversations, observing your surroundings, having a growth mindset, or just having a friendly conversation. I have delivered more than 100 ESG webinars and training sessions and my team tells me that 40% of the attendees have now started speaking about how they plan to play their role in saving people and planet. It’s necessary, and the time to start learning is now.