Thought Leadership

The Sustainability Reset: Communicating brand purpose in a new world

Published on
November 30, 2020
Sarah Fulton Vachon

What will a post-COVID world look like for brands and their communications? Our founder & CEO spoke on a panel hosted by Nelson Bostock to discuss the change required now to build a greener, more transparent future – and how best to communicate the work being done.

As brands, “90% of our work in sustainable business in the last decade has been about technical stuff – life cycle assessments, standards, audits. For the next decade, that means 30-50% of what we do has to be about engaging our customers, our colleagues, our investors, our policymakers and our communities around us in a radical way. Engagement is key,” explains Mike Barry, Ex-Director of Sustainable Business Marks & Spencer.

But what does this look like? The team at Nelson Bostock have pulled together a report outlining the key pillars around a sustainability reset. See our top takeaways from the panel for brands looking to engage their customers in this new world:


...openly and honestly:

“People don’t expect perfection. We are seeing time and time again that citizens are prepared to be patient with businesses. They recognise that they’ve got to turn the Titanic and that will take time. But we have to be open about how we are enabling that process.” – Jessi Baker, founder & CEO of Provenance a clear and inclusive way:

“Consumers get terms like 'sustainable' and 'organic', but in industry circles, we’re talking about things like 'intersectional environmentalism' and 'accountability' so there is a disconnect around language and a challenge in turning it into a compelling narrative.” – Kellie Dalton, Sustainability Consultant Nelson Bostock

...with integrity:

“If you're gonna say that ‘I'm low carbon, circular, good for policy, good for health’ – prove it across all these different touchpoints in your business. And only once you've got those basic building blocks right have you've got the permission to communicate.” – Mike Barry, Ex-Director of Sustainable Business Marks & Spencer


“This reset is already well underway, and that's a big opportunity. But for those that don’t catch on and catch up, then there's a real risk of becoming obsolete.” – Louise Wilson, Co-founder and Joint MD of Abundance Investment

Download the full report from Nelson Bostock and listen to the panel talk more about the core pillars here.

Learn more about work bringing integrity to brand communications and sustainability work in our latest case studies.

Sarah Fulton Vachon

Championing a more positive, transparent world at Provenance 🌍✌️

Excited by all things food, drink, wellness and travel 🍽🍾☕🌊

Texas expat in London by way of Madrid 🇺🇸🇪🇸🇬🇧

Obsessed with olive oil 🫒

The Provenance Team

Provenance powers sustainability claims you can trust. The global leader in sustainability marketing technology, Provenance helps brands and retailers share credible, compelling and fact-checked social and environmental impact information at the point of sale. Provenance’s technology is already increasing conversion rates, brand value and market share for customers including Cult Beauty, Douglas, GANNI, Napolina, Arla and Unilever

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