While the explicit responsibility of managing sustainability can fall on the shoulders of a few people in an organization, executing real initiatives requires support from a larger group who may not see it as “their job” to be involved.
Corporate sustainability easily touches on finance, accounts payable, property management, procurement, and relies on data collection that lands across departments. Knowing this need for extensive stakeholder participation, how can you create a culture of sustainability?
Tie ESG initiatives to business principles
Draw the connection between how your request aligns to their business goals; that will incentivize them to act upon both their interests and yours, as opposed to focusing on the outcomes of the sustainability department.
For example, you create a perceived burden on billing departments when you decide to collect sustainability data because invoices are the primary location of energy, water, and waste usage data. You want to collect usage data so you can plan sustainability initiatives effectively, track progress, and report on performance accurately; but, how is billing affected? The billing team might instead be more motivated by the proposal for a shared repository for all utility accounts or the reduced pain of manually gathering utility bill data in spreadsheets.
By finding ways to position your proposal in a way that is more appealing to the needs of each group of stakeholders, you’ll be able to drive higher engagement and support from these teams.
Find the small wins
You likely also rely on property managers to turn strategy into action at individual sites. They may be more motivated by opportunities to improve the efficiency of their properties, reduce costs, or attract new occupiers to their space. All of these can be outcomes of sustainability programs if well-aligned with their goals.
Working on a smaller scale at individual sites may seem minimal, but these concentrated efforts can happen across the portfolio and will amount to big change.
Organizational support for sustainability
The broader culture of your organization will also influence how you want to drive sustainability culture. We’ve seen customers have great success with internal competitions, while others are more influenced by leadership putting their stamp on an initiative. How you position sustainability in the organization should encompass the organizational culture to engrain these aspects.
Everyone has some stake in sustainability, especially the way it’s reported externally. How your organization communicates about sustainability has an influence on your organization’s brand and reputation in the marketplace.
Championing sustainability from the inside may seem like a huge task, but the small wins add up to bigger victories.