4 Fresh Ways to Cover Sustainability: Trends from C&EN BrandLab’s Senior Editor

Discover recent examples of high-performing, sustainability-focused custom content paired with related stories in C&EN.

By Melissae Stuart, PhD

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s no secret that sustainability is a hot topic these days. C&EN readers said it is one of their top three topics of interest in the 2022 readership survey, and as always, the reporters and editors at C&EN are on top of the trend. Selected sustainability cover stories from this year include recycling solar panels and wind turbine blades, exploring methods for breaking down plastics for reuse, and examining the potential health effects of tiny bits of plastic in the environment.

examples of sustainability covers from C&EN
A selection of 2022 C&EN cover stories related to sustainability topics.

Many clients come to C&EN BrandLab with an interest in sponsoring content around sustainability. With training in chemistry, science journalism, and science communication, BrandLab’s editors keep up with trends in the science news and produce content to the same editorial standards as C&EN.

Although BrandLab is editorially independent from C&EN, the similar editorial expertise means that the same trending topics highlighted in the magazine often emerge in sponsored content. Here are recent examples of high-performing, sustainability-focused custom content paired with related stories in C&EN this year. Each is highlighted with a content strategy to keep sustainability a fresh topic:

1. Make a business topic relevant for working chemists

BrandLab example: An overview of ESG for the chemical industry, a webinar sponsored by the United Soybean Board

Increasingly, investors look to information such as Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) scores to choose where to put their money. C&EN covered how ESG scores are impacting mergers and acquisitions in the chemical industry. In a webinar sponsored by the United Soybean Board, C&EN BrandLab identified experts to speak about how using biobased feedstocks in industrial processes contributes to ESG scores.

2. Give potential registrants a sneak peek using a custom infographic

BrandLab example: Home soy-weet home, an ebook sponsored by the United Soybean Board

Some of C&EN’s coverage of home-related products in early 2022 examined cleaning trends that changed during the pandemic, noting sustainability was a hot topic at the cleaning industry’s annual conference. Continuing a long-standing relationship with the United Soybean Board, C&EN BrandLab also explored sustainable home goods through an ebook playfully exploring several places to find soy in the home. An eye-catching infographic appeared on the ebook’s registration page as a teaser for readers.

3. Broaden a very specific application with context

BrandLab example: Driving the future: Precision production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, a whitepaper sponsored by Sartorius

Lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles have appeared in several C&EN articles this year, exploring projects to expand the battery materials supply chain in the US, emerging battery recycling efforts, and automakers investing in technology advancements. Sartorius came to BrandLab looking to showcase how their precision balances could be used for quality control throughout a step invisible to most of us—battery manufacturing. The resulting whitepaper included perspectives from battery manufacturing experts to guide readers through the main steps of battery production, inherent challenges along the way, and why quality control during production is especially important for electric vehicle applications.

4. Focus on people

BrandLab example: In pursuit of polymers that can protect the planet, a whitepaper sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific

C&EN’s Talented12 program, now in its eighth year, highlights early-career researchers who are using chemistry to make the world a better place. This effort, sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific, introduces the researchers in a special issue of C&EN and through a symposium. Looking for a way to highlight sustainability and continue celebrating researchers’ creativity, C&EN BrandLab used the opportunity to speak to three Talented12 alumni who are developing sustainable plastics.

By speaking to the latest trends and strategically injecting frames, focus, or flair, sustainability remains a rich topic for creative evergreen content development. 

About BrandLab and the author

C&EN BrandLab works with clients to create effective, engaging, and scientifically-accurate custom content for a global scientific audience. As BrandLab’s Senior Editor, Melissae Stuart, PhD, brings more than a decade of science communications experience. Prior to BrandLab, she worked as a science journalist, and in media relations, and institutional communications. Melissae is passionate about sharing the wonder of chemistry through engaging multimedia storytelling and excels at supporting projects from ideation through production to publication. She holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis and a certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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