Are you a freelancer or a consultancy that is eager for your clients to embrace sustainability but not sure how to win them over over or communicate to engage them.
Perhaps they say they want to ‘go green’ and you want a framework and structure to follow.
So where should you begin on your sustainability planning
From the get-go, it’s essential that you discuss sustainability measures, so you have a good lead time and have clarity on your client’s motivations and priorities. It’s also essential to build in monitoring and measuring so you can see that you can demonstrate the changes you have made.
There is a general perception that sustainability will cost more and whilst certain ‘green’ materials do- switching materials is not what sustainability is about. And efficiency savings, in one area, can pay for more expensive options. Plus the value-add for marketing, PR and customer satisfaction is priceless.
How to co-create a policy with a client
Rather than writing up a document and sending it over for your client to approve, I highly recommend hosting a policy meeting with a group of key stakeholders from across the organisation.
This will make the policy meaningful and hold people accountable. It will also avoid those frustrating conversations when a director asks, ‘why isn’t it a paper-free event’?
I have conducted many of these discussions with corporate festival agencies to nightclub teams. I start off by asking questions around what matters to people in relation to the 3 pillars of sustainability - people, planet and profit:
Issue statement - what are the core issues you identify
Vision - what is your vision of a better/ ideal future (the dream)
Scope of policy - what are the priorities (the highest-scoring areas)
Commitments - what will you do
How to create an action plan
With the priority issues (highest scoring), you need to create SMART targets. This will mean your team, contractors and venue have clarity on what they are working towards.
Going plastic-free is not specific, measurable, achievable, realistic or timely, when you consider that most graphics materials are made from plastic.
A SMART target looks like:
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