How to build a strategy for communicating sustainability in real estate

Linda Öhrn Lernström


March 27, 2023

June 7, 2023

Man on construction site wearing helmet and holding a folder.

Is sustainability a given topic in your communication plan? Effectively communicating your sustainability efforts can actually affect your company's business.

We already know that the real estate industry has a major impact on the environment – buildings and real estate account for about 40% of the EU's energy consumption and about one-third of greenhouse gas emissions.

The industry faces a number of challenges to achieve the goal of being carbon neutral by 2050 – and increased energy efficiency in our homes, workplaces, schools and hospitals will play a key role.

Your sustainability communication is critical to your business

There is another factor to consider when it comes to your company's sustainability efforts.

In order for you and your company to create long-term value and build relationships with stakeholders and investors, you need to communicate what you are doing and what your long-term strategies are to contribute to achieving climate goals. The switch to climate-friendly concrete or the expansion of solar panels are not only important investments – but also stories that you should use in marketing your company.

How you succeed in communicating your sustainability efforts can likely affect your business – as investors no longer just look at companies from a financial perspective – but also how you contribute to climate goals.

You may have already heard of ESG? Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is a financial industry standard used to measure a company's sustainability.

The purpose of ESG is to make it easier for investors to find sustainable companies to invest in. The standard makes it possible to map and compare companies based on sustainability criteria. ESG is an important topic at this year's influential real estate conference MIPIM.

Want to read more about how Storykit helps property and real estate development companies capitalize on their communication? Learn more here

How to build an effective social media strategy to reach out

With an effective sustainability strategy on social media, you can help your company become more successful and more interesting to investors, journalists and the general public.

First and foremost, sustainability needs to be a prioritized topic in your content strategy with clear goals for how you reach out, to whom, how often, where – and what types of content formats you will work with.

There are many companies that are good examples that you can be inspired by.

Andreas Ivarsson works at the world-leading communication agency BCW and has worked with social media and digital video for over ten years. We asked him to choose some actors to be inspired by, all of whom use Storykit's video tool to work with sustainability communication on social media.

Real life examples of companies' sustainable communication

JM: works with clear lists

JM, one of the Nordic's leading project developers of housing, emphasizes sustainability primarily with a focus on the environment and climate. In this video, they show practical examples of how they work with sustainability through efficiency in newly built apartments. The video is a so-called listicle video, a clear list of points illustrated with environmental images. The format often works well and is not difficult to produce. If you look closely, you can also see that they do not use video, instead, it is still images that feel alive thanks to smooth panning and zooming.

Peab: highlights employees

Peab, one of the Nordic's leading construction and civil engineering companies, is very concrete and often lets employees be visible when communicating about sustainability. They use both employees to provide credible stories and identification to the recipients, but also to contribute their expertise. Using employees in communication also builds an even stronger team and increases internal pride.

Stena Fastigheter: Presents facts in a simple way

Stena Fastigheter rents out, sells, manages, and constructs homes and premises. In this video, they show what their Swan-labeled properties look like. In this case, it becomes clear how easily consumable facts can become when combined with moving images. The video is a clear example of concrete actions the company is taking in sustainability. The fact that it is also good advertising for their new building project doesn't make it worse. In the post's text, they have chosen to add some "nerd facts" that can certainly attract people interested in sustainable building technology.

Checklist: How to communicate your sustainability message on social media

1. Be transparent

Avoid fluff in your communication and do not exaggerate the effects of what your company does. In social media, presenting messages that aren’t entirely true can "at best" lead to your content underperforming, and "at worst" require you to do crisis communication.

2. Video is key

Since social media is about conveying a story, moving content is preferred. Our brains engage more easily with video, and it is an effective way to explain more complex messages with images and text in harmony.

3. Don't forget the people

People are drawn to other people, and this applies even when scrolling through social media feeds. Highlight people who speak out or portray your story; it engages more than pictures of facades and machines.

4. Why should anyone care?

You need engagement on social media for your content to be successful. Always ask yourself if the recipient will want to consume - and share - the content.

5. What is the next step?

After someone has taken part in your fantastic content, what should they do next? Always have a call to action! It can be a question that generates comments, a link to register for a webinar, or something in between.

Want to read more about how Storykit helps property and real estate development companies capitalize on their communication? Learn more here

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