Curvy Road in Summer Pine Forest

Evolving a feel-good sustainability program

A newly public automotive enthusiast brand was ready to evolve its sustainability efforts from a feel-good community give-back program to a strategic business driver. The company engaged SMA to collaborate with its team. The goal: a program incorporating the social, governance and environmental initiatives of highest importance to its stakeholders and with the greatest potential to drive business growth.

Client Challenge

Elevate an existing feel-good give-back program to a best-in-class strategic business driver

The company had a well-established sustainability program focused primarily on engaging its employees and giving back to its communities. Nevertheless, the program lacked a clear and quantifiable business strategy. After its IPO, the company sought SMA’s expertise to evaluate its existing program, identify the environmental, social and governance topics of greatest importance to stakeholders, including its newest audience—the capital markets.

Closeup side view of group of software developers
adult male commuting with electric bicycle and looking through his phone

The Sharon Merrill Advantage

Communications experts with a keen understanding of the capital markets and sustainability
SMA helped the client develop a sustainability program rooted in strategy and amplified by a compelling communications plan. After creating a gap analysis and materiality assessment that identified the non-financial issues of greatest significance to its stakeholders, SMA collaborated with the company and ESG business consultants to develop a scalable sustainability strategy.

Building upon the existing sustainability program, SMA evolved the company’s narrative to emphasize the increased level of rigor governing the program. In addition, SMA developed clear and compelling ESG commitments for maximizing growth, minimizing risks, and driving exceptional value for all stakeholders.


High engagement across all stakeholder audiences

SMA developed a scalable sustainability strategy and an integrated communications approach that built engagement across internal and external audiences. As part of its strategy, SMA:

  • enhanced disclosures and policies to align with peer best practices;
  • launched a revised corporate Impact site;
  • created an Impact for Investors website; and
  • introduced a series of ESG communications aimed at employees and customers.

Following the launch, SMA integrated the sustainability narrative into the annual Proxy report as well as quarterly investor communications. Additionally, SMA helped the company successfully implement its optional carbon reduction and reforestation program to engage its customer base. The launch received positive news coverage and exceeded enrollment goals.