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Communicating your green credentials

19th July 2023

In recent years, more businesses are demonstrating their green practices and environmental initiatives. The UK construction industry produced approximately 11.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2020, and the industry is actively looking for ways to reduce its contributions.

Within the timber industry, the TDUK’s Net Zero Roadmap highlights the key areas where the timber industry can make the biggest difference, including looking at improving the efficiency of production and distribution of materials, using lower carbon fuels in operations and transport, moving over to biomass CHP, and other renewable forms of energy, at production facilities, and working with our overseas supply chains to implement similar measures to reduce imported embodied emissions.

However, the question remains for businesses that are already taking steps towards achieving net-zero emissions: how can they effectively and responsibly communicate their green credentials and gain a competitive advantage in the market?

We have put together some suggestions on how your business can communicate your sustainability efforts – without being accused of greenwashing.

Know your strategy

A clear and current environmental policy is essential to maintain your business’s progress and to make visible your commitment to sustainability. The specific details of your policy will depend on the size and nature of your business.

Still, you should start by identifying your primary environmental impacts, including fuel consumption and waste management, and get a good understanding of your current Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions. The TRA offered a range of other small steps to get started, at its AGM.

It is also important to consider the following factors:

  • Employee involvement: Ensure that all members of your organisation feel invested in your environmental policy, and regularly update them on both challenges and successes.
  • Internal experts and champions. It is worth having a knowledgeable and trustworthy sales representative or a dedicated sustainability manager, for example, fully trained in the facts, to answer any customer inquiries about your environmental practices and products.
  • Management buy-in: Responsibility for environmental performance extends to the highest levels of your organisation, so it is crucial to gain support from senior management.
  • Communication: Be honest and transparent about your journey, in order to enhance your company’s credibility and reputation and to maintain accountability.

Make information visible on your website

Your website is a valuable tool for communicating your company’s commitments, targets, current progress and environmental certifications.

As the whole construction and housebuilding sector becomes more aware of, and concerned about, supply chain carbon emissions and broader environmental impacts, you can expect to see more customers seeking information on your environmental policies and choosing to work more with suppliers aligned with their own values and policies.

Highlight your sustainable practices on your website, such as reducing waste, energy efficiency initiatives, and using renewable resources. You can also highlight any certifications you have received, including your use of PEFC or FSC timber.

Enter for an award

If you want to really showcase your business’s sustainability initiatives and reach a wider audience, sharing your achievements, results achieved and lessons learned, is essential. One of the most effective ways to do this is by participating in awards programmes.

Winning an award can help you gain recognition, attract new customers and stand out from your competitors. Numerous industry awards are available, such as sustainability awards, green business awards and innovation awards, to name a few.

For instance, the TRA offers the Roofscape Design Awards that celebrate exceptional design, innovation, and sustainability in timber engineering. Start thinking about your submission for next year’s competition. Submissions for the 2024 Roofscape Design Awards will open in January next year, but cover projects completed this year.

Communicating in the right way

The TRA has taken advice from its communications advisers and PR team at LMC – and their support remains open to any TRA member looking for guidance in this area.

As they point out, the biggest threat to trust and confidence when it comes to sustainability-focused communications is ‘greenwashing’. This happens when vague, inaccurate or unsubstantiated claims are made about products, services or policies. Like fake

news, greenwashing creates confusion, misunderstanding, distrust and cynicism.

There is lots of guidance on how to communicate in the right way, including:

Do you have any tips for how you communicate your sustainability efforts? Send us an email at or tag us on LinkedIn and Twitter.




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