Here, you can get inspiration to select communication methods that effectively reach your target groups.
Use your existing communication channels
When you communicate about responsible supply chain management to your stakeholders, you should use your existing channels of communication.
Before deciding on a particular form of communication, you should create an overview of your existing channels for communication with the selected target groups.
You can draw inspiration from the following overview of potential communication channels:
Website: Your website is an obvious place to communicate your responsible supply chain management activities and results. This is where your customers and potential employees will typically seek information on your CSR activities. This is also the typical starting point for critical journalists and NGOs who are looking for information about you.
Sales and marketing material: If you wish to use your responsible supply chain management proactively to strengthen existing customer relations and enter new markets, you should include this in your sales and marketing material. This may take the form of a folder or a PowerPoint presentation for use at sales meetings.
Internal media: Employees should be continuously updated via your internal media, such as your intranet and bulletin boards. You can also put the topic on the agenda at internal meetings at which management informs the workforce about your business performance and results.
The annual report: Your annual report is primarily read by investors and customers. In accordance with Section 99a of the Danish Financial Statements Act, large companies are required to include a CSR report in their management's review. Responsible supply chain management can be included in this report.
- Social media: You can also consider dialogue with your stakeholders via social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Social media make it possible to describe current activities and to receive an immediate response from users. However, this requires that you have the resources to be online constantly, and that you are willing to openly describe the challenges that arise.
Write clearly and concisely
When you write, think about your target group’s basis for understanding the information.
You are expected to ensure that all of your stakeholders have access to clear and concise information on your responsible supply chain management, so that they can assess whether your activities fulfil the requirements. Much of CSR communication is highly technical and specific, and your target groups will not necessarily have the necessary CSR insight or specific knowledge of your industry. You should therefore avoid using too many specialised terms, and where it is necessary, explain what they mean. It can also be a good idea to describe general conditions in the industry, in order to make it easier for the target groups to understand the challenges you face in your supply chain.
It is also a good idea to use stories and examples to engage the reader. This might be small case stories and interviews that show how you cooperate with suppliers and that put faces on the people whose working conditions and standards of living you are seeking to improve. This might also be testimonials from relevant persons who have achieved remedy and are willing to share their stories. These testimonials will strengthen the credibility of your communication.
Finally, it is naturally vital that your communication is available in a language that the target groups understand.
Engage in direct dialogue
Verbal dialogue can give valuable insights on your stakeholders' expectations of you and your opportunities to influence your suppliers.
Verbal dialogue is often the best way to gain insights on your suppliers' expectations of you, and also to communicate your activities to minimise the risk of adverse impacts on the CSR principles in your supply chain.
Especially NGOs can be important dialogue partners, since they often have good insights on the local community's interests and concerns, and represent expertise that you do not have in your own organisation. This may be knowledge of how companies can handle dilemmas concerning specific human rights, such as child labour, migrant workers and the rights of indigenous peoples. They can give you sound advice on how you can best influence your suppliers to undertake CSR improvements and ensure access to remedy for the persons affected.
Naturally, you do not have the resources to engage in dialogue with everyone. You might consider inviting key stakeholders to roundtable discussions, where relevant. Or you could call on your trade organisation or other industrial networks to organise a joint dialogue with stakeholders.