4 February 2020
Our initial Sustainability Strategy event in July 2019 covered when and why a strategy might be needed, what to include, and how to put one together. We collated the top tips shared in Part I of this article. At a follow-up event on 22nd January, member practitioners from organisations including Historic Royal Palaces, British Mountaineering Council, Royal Yachting Association & Coventry City Council discussed how we embed a strategy across an organisation and start to deliver on objectives.
This is useful in terms of deciding what is in scope and ensuring that aspirations are grounded in the practical. It is also a way to breakdown targets to enable effective monitoring and reporting, as well as identify specific actions and the teams responsible for implementation.
Rather than leaving it all to a central sustainability team, which may only comprise one person, a strategy can be broken down into areas with each area being assigned to a specific team of people. Example areas are carbon, water, waste, biodiversity and supply chains. Involve teams in deciding on the measures for their area and how they are going to deliver on it
How often are you going to monitor each area and review progress made? Doing so on a quarterly or six-monthly basis can help to keep momentum going and enable you to quickly identify challenging areas, successes and where targets made have been under or over ambitious.
Regular communication of progress is a useful way to ensure the on-going engagement of staff and stakeholders. But how do you communicate it? Making the data meaningful in terms of the targets set, or the objectives of your organisation, are important things to consider. Guide Dogs converted energy savings into the amount of food and equipment that could be bought for the dogs instead, for example. It is also worthwhile to think about where and how communications are displayed.
Celebrating success is really important, including small wins. Sharing positive progress with the wider organisation and recognising/ thanking the people or teams directly responsible can galvanise commitment and boost further success.
Having a team of people who can influence and engage at a grass roots level can be a successful strategy for keeping up momentum. It can also help staff to feel empowered and invested in the strategy. Guide Dogs SIT team, for example, was a great way to embed the strategy at a grassroots level.
* Fit for the Future are looking to deliver some sustainability champion training in the autumn. Contact us to express your interest in attending.
There is potential to make this stuff really matter to staff rather than be a tick box exercise, by engaging with their values and the wider context of the climate and ecological emergency that we are operating in. If we can influence our staff and give them things to take away with them from the work environment, then environmental sustainability can become embedded at an integral level.
Staying connected to the bigger picture can be a good way to keep momentum going. For example, the UN Global Compact is a way of reporting what we do in terms of the Sustainable Development Goals and feeling that our work matters at an international level.
The development and implementation of sustainability strategies is just one of the areas covered at Fit for the Future events and meetings. Check out our other topics including climate change adaptation, net zero, sustainable land use and sustainable procurement on our events pages. If you are not yet a member but would like to find out more about getting involved, please contact us.