Would you like an sustainability action plan for your company?
Most companies would probably like a sustainability action plan, but don’t know where to start. In this article you will find out about a framework that you can use to create a sustainability action plan, quickly and easily.
Click on the image below to see Cambridge Startup Help’s Sustainability Action Plan.
You might be thinking that you don’t have time, or the know how to create a sustainability action plan. However, if you are a purpose driven organisation with millennials as employees you could be using one to motivate them more than you realise.
Apparently, 94% of Europeans say protecting the environment is important to them but 80% don’t feel businesses aren’t doing enough (Source: European Environmental Bureau). Encouraging businesses to engage in sustainable activities is an important driver for the 27,000 people who took part in this survey. They also feel we should be consuming less, investing in climate mitigation technologies and changing the way we produce and trade.
Motivating staff is key to staff retention and productivity, so your sustainability action plan can be about their happiness as well as the environment. The One Planet Living Framework from Bioregional sets out an easy way to create a sustainability action plan.
Within it’s framework, it considers things like happiness, community as well as zero waste, zero carbon energy and water. We used it to create our Sustainability Action Plan and it was not only incredibly easy to understand, but also an enjoyable process. The sustainability training was with a group of people from other countries so we could all bounce ideas off each other. So how can you get started on your journey?
1. Contextual analysis – what are you doing now?
By adding sustainability as an agenda item in your company meetings you can incorporate the idea into existing processes. However, workshops are recommended to get buy in and make staff feel really involved. You are probably already recycling paper at work and you may be using local suppliers for various items. What about other areas, like energy? You could start thinking of things you are doing under these 10 One Planet Living principles:
- Health and Happiness
- Equity and Local Economy
- Land and Nature
- Local and Sustainable Food
- Culture and Community
- Sustainable Water
- Materials and Products
- Zero Waste
- Zero Carbon Energy
- Travel and Transport
2. Visioning workshop – What could you be doing?
You could then have a visioning workshop where you think about a positive future situation where these above principles are brought into every aspect of staff lives. This can be from when they start out on their journey to work, to when they go home and how they interact with the local community and economy. They might pick some fresh tomatoes from their gardens to bring into work to share with colleagues for example or seedlings for staff to grow in their own gardens.
Or they could stop by to check in on an old person. They could take part in volunteer activities once a month. How could they get to work using sustainable transport and how could the company help out with this? The salary sacrifice scheme could be used to help staff with bike purchases, for example.
From vegan lunches to solar panels on buildings, the possibilities are endless. The beer company Brewdog is doing some great things with its processes and staff for its sustainability action plan. Its Tomorrow webpage gives lots of ideas.
The concept of sustainability shouldn’t be left to one department, for example Marketing, but something the whole company can be involved in. There is also no need to worry about actions not being big enough, although it is worth thinking about areas where you can make the most impact.
3. Setting outcomes, actions and indicators
Staff in the workshop can then set outcomes, actions and indicators to support the Sustainability Action Plan. This helps hold the company to account and gives clear actions for everyone to follow. An outcome is an end goal you are striving to achieve. An action has to be a concrete step towards this and an indicator a way of measuring it. You can get guidance to create outcomes, actions and indicators for your plan on the Bioregional website.
4. Publishing your Sustainability Action Plan
After going through the above steps, you can then write your Sustainability Action Plan and publish it.
It’s good to be transparent about what you are doing to hold your company to account and to encourage other companies to start sustainability journeys. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to communicate your sustainability credentials and stories to help engage people.
Beware of greenwashing, pretending to do something that you aren’t really doing. There has been quite a lot of it historically and consumers want to see genuine actions backed up with visual stories that communicate evidence.
4. Think total environmental impact
Above all, your Sustainability Action Plan will contribute to your total environmental impact which includes the power of the technologies you are selling and the actions of the company and staff.
For help with your sustainability action plan and communicating your impact do feel free to get in touch.