Businesses often struggle to articulate what it is they mean by sustainability.

In some cases, that is because they don’t really understand what they mean themselves. Good communication requires clarity of message.  You can’t tell a strong sustainability story unless you have a strong sustainability strategy.

That is why concepts like Net Positiveare so powerful. Net Positive is an initiative established in 2013 by Forum for the Future that gives organisations a clear set of principles for making a positive contribution to the world. It is a framework that a business – or indeed any entity – can use to plan its activities to make sure that it has a positive effect in its most important areas of influence.

One reason that some organisations have trouble with sustainability communications is that they are still thinking in terms of reducing harmful impacts; cutting carbon emissions, less waste, fewer food miles.  It doesn’t make for much of a story, because it isn’t one. While I wouldn’t want to knock any organisation’s genuine attempts to improve, the point is that incremental transition to make things ‘a little less bad’ is not enough. We need to turn the story around; to be able to talk about the positive effect that our activities have on the societies and environments in which we act.

When you know what it is that you are trying to do, it is much easier to communicate it to others. A Net Positive effect – now that really is something to shout about.