By Livvy Drake
As businesses look to what the future holds and how they remain a ‘sustainable’ and viable business, we are advocating bringing the team into discussions and strategies on what a sustainable future, policy and strategy would look like, for people, planet and profit.
By adopting sustainability an organisation is focused on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. As per the 17 UN sustainable development goals which intend “to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere”, by 2030.
The concept of sustainability is composed of these three pillars; economic, environmental, and social—the 3 P’s - planet, people, profit; being in equilibrium. But the Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the lack of equilibrium, inequality and work that needs to be done within nations organisations and industries.
Kearney's annual retail report found that 48% of respondents were more concerned about the planet's health as a consequence of the pandemic.
Futera and One Pulse found that, rather than a dip in climate interest, nearly 80% of respondents are willing to make lifestyle changes to stop climate change as big as those they’ve made for coronavirus.
Among the study’s other highlights are:
Why engage your staff in your sustainability policy and strategy?
Tony Tony Dunnage, Group Director, Manufacturing Sustainability, Unilever cites these measures as part of the steps to delivering a zero waste strategy within the organisation
And the impact of this approach is that at Unilever:
How to engage your staff?
I recommend hosting a workshop with key members of staff that are representatives from each division so you get a range of perspectives, the most successful changes come with public top-down commitment and bottom-up engagement and action.
If you have a large organisation or you want to gather more perspectives a questionnaire is also advised to capture people’s attitudes in a confidential way.
These are some of the questions I ask when facilitating these workshops with teams:
All this information can then be used to create a policy and create an action plan with targets. Read this blog for more details on the policy layout 0r join the upcoming workshop (details below)!
What if you think your staff don’t care or are not engaged?
It is true that not everyone is environmentally motivated, but sustainability is about people, planet and profit. So they will care about people (their family, their community) or being part of a successful business (profit). And as Mark Carney (Bank of England) said, "Firms ignoring climate crisis will go bankrupt".
Many staff are influenced by the culture within an organisation and will look to their peers for what they should talk about and care about (social norms). So if environmental or social issues are not valued by the organisation or you have a work culture which overrides these, people will not exhibit pro-environmental behaviours.
DEFRA’s (2008) research on pro-environmental behaviour motivators, highlighted that people want to know:
Taking action on your sustainability policy and strategy
If you are ready to bring your team together to create a sustainability policy and action plan, the Sustainable Sidekicks would love to support you! We facilitate workshops with teams, virtually or face to face.
Furthermore, we are training people on the process we go through, so you can deliver a workshop with your team. This includes step-by-step instructions and all the documents required. Get access to the workshop recording so you can take action yourself. You can even send us your policy for feedback.
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