People working for an organization are probably the main ambassadors of the organization’s brand. In front of customers, co-workers or within their social circle, they represent and reflect the values and the image of an organization’s brand. Therefore, employees should be carefully selected and their career path properly followed-up to ensure that such brand image is well conveyed. Within any organization Human Resources activities are perceived to be limited to some core functions such as hiring people, following employees’ development, setting employees’ benefits and managing leaving personnel. However, according to Andrew Savitz, senior consultant at SBS, HR functions are essential to Brand strategy in sustainability.

Hiring people

Based on an organization needs and budget, HR professionals attract talents by using the brand image and values of the organization. Since today’s organizations tend to include sustainability values, sustainability-related values have become essential criteria not only in employees’ selection, but also employer’s selection. So, how to attract talents to come work for one’s organization based on sustainability values?  Simply with proofs! What better than tangible examples about initiatives taken and realized by an organization rather than mere words?

TOMS has proven again its commitment to its famous business model One for One®. In 2013, TOMS has launched its marketplace dedicated to social entrepreneurs that totally embraces the concept of One for One®. For each purchase made from a brand, a cause is supported in a specific region or country.


Besides, on the hiring page, the founder Blake Mycoskie celebrates the 7 years of TOMS in a video by telling not only all the great achievements of the past 7 years, but also by presenting the culture and some of the core values of the company.

Another way of attracting talents: Heineken approach! Last year, the beer brand came out with a new way of hiring people: what matters was not how much ready a candidate was for a classic job interview, but how actually his/her personality was and could match with the current team. The recruiting process was putting candidates in atypical and awkward situations to test if what is usually said – such as “I can work under pressure”; “I adapt myself easily” – is real:

  1. Holding the hand of the recruiter
  2. Assist the recruiter who fainted
  3. Act in an emergency evacuation

Employees’ development 

Employees develop their career through the experience they acquire within the organization on daily activities and trainings. The role of HR here could be to offer opportunities to raise awareness about how economic, environmental and social issues can affect the organization and all around.

Employees’ rewards

Rewards are usually set according to employees’ performance and objective achievements. In the same manner, sustainability-related objectives, such as brand image representation, could be rewarded with incentives encouraging employees to go on.

Levi’s has combined both employees’ development and rewards through their Community Involvement Teams. The famous jeans company encourages its employees to get involved in local charities by giving them up to 60 hours paid time off per year to do so. Furthermore, every year since 2000, on Community Day in May, Levi’s employees around the world volunteer for a day with local nonprofit organizations. Such initiative contributed last May to:

  • Thousands of employees participating in nearly 170 projects in 46 countries related to addressing sustainability, equality and fighting against HIV/AIDS
  • A total of $ 300.000 granted to nonprofit partners by the Levi Strauss Foundation


Source: Levi’s

Updated knowledge

10 years ago, positions such as “community manager” or “digital marketer” just started to pop out from job offers. Organizations need talents with up-to-date knowledge, skills and mindsets. Sustainability-related jobs have also invaded careers opportunities to become even more specific such as “Carbon accounting specialist” or “Lifecycle analysis specialist”. Aman Singh, Editorial Director at CSRwire said: “It is encouraging that companies are opening their doors, slowly but surely, to eager and skilled graduates who want to use their careers to make a difference.”

Managing leaving employees 

People who worked for an organization keep on carrying the brand image of its previous employers. Whether an employee leaves or s/he is retiring. Therefore, benefits or pension policies could be a mean for sustainability policies of an organization: the organization is caring beyond the work life time.


DowJones, CAC40, FTSE, Borsa Istanbul, and the like are so many indexes that organisations are following to get an idea of their business environment. But the one, organisations should really focus on for their sustainability communication is probably SMI-Wizness Social Media Sustainability Index. Every day, doesn’t your entourage ask you: “Have you been to the place I checked in in Foursquare? Did you see this company’s page on Facebook, there is a contest to win a car? Did you see on Twitter this Company is launching a discount campaign? Did you check out my Instagram? Etc.” Questions not so common just 3 years ago.

Go social a trend? No rather a MUST

Social media has become an essential means of communication if not THE means to use, especially in the area of sustainability. The key word defining today’s communication are: contribution, authenticity, transparency, community. Through social media, organizations are involving their stakeholders through “live” operations, which make them feel as part of the whole process and result.  As said Matthew Yeomans, co-founder of Social Media Influence and director of Custom Communication, a social media sustainability consultancy,  “By empowering people with the sensibility that their voice matters and can make a difference, social media technologies have changed forever the way people communicate and act online.”

SMI-Wizness Social Media Sustainability Index: Top 10

The SMI-Wizness Social Media Sustainability Index considered their ranking on a base of 400 companies using social media channel for communication with a focus on communicating sustainability. Of the 400, 176 appeared to have matched the criteria, and were ranked. This is an encouraging number, as it increased compared to 2011: 120 companies were counted. However, the SMI-Wizness Social Media Sustainability Index does not aim to give an opinion on sustainability actions made by companies, but evaluate how those actions are communicated successfully through social media. Thus, as written on Wizness, social media sustainability communications of companies were assessed based on:

  1. How often they publish, update their sustainability social media channels?
  2. How transparent they are in allowing comments and responding to comments and conversation?
  3. How authentic is their social media content? Do they communicate what the company is doing or what it says it would like to do?
  4. How creative and innovative is the social media content?
  5. How useful is the information and conversation to the community?
  6. How “social” is the Sustainability or Corporate Responsibility Report?

From this ranking, here is an overview of the Top 10 of 2012:


Follow the Green Twitterati

The Green Twitterati is a list of 100 top tweeters accounts that are dedicated to sustainability and business, updated every 6 months. Accounts are from categorised based on their sector: media, agencies and consultants, companies, government and academia.  SMI-Wizness Social Media Sustainability Index: a tool for benchmark and measure organisation’s performance SMI-Wizness Social Media Sustainability Index provides data related to social media best practices and failures communication campaigns of companies. It is a very useful source of information to benchmark organisation performance all over the world. The breakdown of the top 100 companies included in the 2012 Index is as follows, But where is Turkey? Let’s see if in the 2013 index a Turkish company will be part of it…

country breakdown