CARBON AUDIT – before you start on the sustainability commitment and action journey you need to know where you are today. It is easier to get somewhere if you know where you are starting from and it also makes progress much easier to track and manage. Most organisations do not know where their carbon footprint sits. For example, The ICAEW, the accounting institute, conducted an audit and found that the data they held in the cloud was the major source of their footprint.
BOARD PLEDGE & LEADERSHIP – ChapterZero, the non-executive board director climate network, advocates that the CEO and Chair / President must buy in to the cause to ensure a successful implementation. This is increasingly driven and supported by ESG (Environmental, Social and corporate Governance) investor engagement and pressure. As a corporate your reputation is a currency and therefore you need to think carefully about which pledge(s) you support. The Board should choose and make the pledge and should be fully supported by the executive team and the C-Suite.
STRATEGIC FOCUS & ALIGNMENT – in business it is generally better to do less initiatives and to achieve them earlier, than to do more over a longer period. This applies to sustainability as well and it is worth having a tight focus on between one to three areas where you can make bold transformational moves and achieve great things. Having headline achievements can be important for internal and external stakeholders. Your pledge will be an important part of this and your strategic focus needs to be aligned to ensure relevance and success.
GALVANIZING ACTION – like all change programmes it can be useful to start with a few quick wins. One way of identifying your quick wins is through some form of employee engagement programme, such as an ideas survey. Then you can quickly create a list of hopefully easy practical interventions that make people feel and see rapid progress. A good example of this is The Go-Ahead Group plc, which substantially reduced its pollution and costs at the same time, through increasing the tyre pressure in its fleet of 700 buses.
CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT – following a bold environmental strategy is important for the world, it is important to customers – and is therefore good for business, so it needs to be built into your market offering. It can lead to innovation, waste reduction, new efficiencies, and make what your organisation does more attractive to customers. It may lead to new market and growth propositions, such as Eco-Friendly Packaging, and new lines of communication and engagement with customers.
REPORT ON SUCCESS – what gets measured gets done, and pledges, like mission statements, may be markers on route to achieve a bigger vision. It is important that milestones are set and progress is tracked against them. Environmentalists and others are concerned that a 2050 pledge is too far out to create the climate urgency required today. 2030 is considered a more robust commitment. Many organisations create substantial sustainability reports detailing the progress they have made.
The organisation has publicly bought-in but are not committing resources or acknowledging the consequences of the change
Sometimes seen as the ‘permafrost’ against climate, they have significant workloads already and this is just another thing that eats up their time.
Implementation requires sustained investment which is short of supply in a post Covid world. Climate positive decisions are not always financially positive decisions, triggering the ethics vs money debate.
Employees, on the whole, want to play their part but do not know what to do or where to focus their attention. Therefore, know-how guidance and support are essential ingredients.
For full details of the types of pledges which might be relevant to your organisation, your country and your sector please download the full report.Click here to download
PROCESS: Follow the Pledge Change Process given at the beginning of this guide.
PLEDGE: Review the pledges in the guide and choose the ones that work for you and your organisation.
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