The 5th Annual Social Media Sustainability Index

How do you talk about sustainability when no-one really knows what it means?

That’s the quandary facing the world’s biggest companies as they seek to communicate their own sustainability work while also providing their consumers and greater community a road map to sustainable living.

The answer, based on the findings of Sustainly’s 5th Annual Social Media Sustainability Index, is to connect with people in an entertaining, informative and authentic voice on the issues they are passionate about. Simple things like food that won’t hurt you. Products free from poisons and carcinogens. Paying workers a decent wage. And not harming local habitats or communities. 

The top companies on this year’s Index - led by Unilever, Intel, Coca-Cola Company, Philips and McDonald’s - all successfully communicate what practitioners recognize as sustainability without, for the most part, ever ushering the S word.

Instead, the companies that make up the Sustainly Top 100 communicate tricky topics like transparent supply chains, minimizing waste, resource scarcity and diversity in the workplace through the narratives like innovation, digital literacy, artisanal making and wellness to name just some of the themes we’ve identified.

The 5th Social Media Sustainability Index takes an exhaustive look at how 475 global companies communicate their sustainability actions and initiatives using social media. Sustainly’s researchers assessed more than 2,500 corporate sites and social media channels to inform the report.

This year, Sustainly was able to select a long list of 273 companies that have some form of dedicated social media sustainability efforts - an increase from 230 in 2013, 176 in 2012 and a marked improvement from the 120 of 2011. Of those 273, we selected the Sustainly Top 100.

You can see how these companies and many more communicate sustainability by reading the new Social Media Sustainability Index.