Strategic Commitment

Strategic commitmentThe culture of an organisation is strongly influenced by messages sent from the top. Having a strong strategic commitment to sustainability tells people that not only is it something the organisation is serious about, but that there is a plan for how we are going to pursue it. Best practice organisations include sustainability somewhere in their overall company vision, values and strategies, and take every opportunity to remind people of it, and hold them accountable to it.

Research on this enabler…

  • Catherine Ramus found that “a written environmental policy has the most significant impact on employee actions, but the indirect impact of other sustainability policies was also important”.
  • A 2012 Harvard Business School study found that corporations that voluntarily adopted environmental and social policies by 1993 dramatically outperformed their counterparts over the long-term, both in terms of stock market and accounting performance.
  • A 2012 French study found that firms who adopted environmental standards enjoyed significantly higher labour productivity, due to increased employee training and interpersonal contact.

Strategies for improving this enabler…

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  • Develop a comprehensive sustainability framework, outlining the organisation’s vision for sustainability, strategies to reach the vision, and actions and projects to pursue those strategies
  • Review the organisation’s strategic communications to look for opportunities to articulate and reinforce sustainability commitments
  • Add sustainability content to important employee touch-points, such as inductions, performance discussions and team meetings
  • Report on sustainability performance, and include sustainability information in broader company reporting

Best Practice Examples…

  • Dubai Energy and Water Authority are a great example of an organisation who puts sustainability front and centre. Their corporate vision of “A sustainable innovative world-class utility” provides an excellent focal point for employees to embrace sustainability, while they enthusiastically track and celebrate sustainability wins, like their excellent results on Awake’s Sustainability Culture Indicator.
  • Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) developed a comprehensive sustainability framework with the assistance of Awake. All employees were invited to be involved in the development of the framework, with a working group guiding the process and articulating a sustainability vision and strategies. The resulting rollout of the actions and projects in the framework have led to positive improvements in the sustainability culture and outcomes of PoMC.
  • Unilever, long recognised as a leader in sustainability, are another organisation who choose to place sustainability explicitly into their reason for doing business, stating that “Our purpose is to make sustainable living commonplace”.

How Awake can help…

  • Awake can support you to create a sustainability framework, using an employee-centered approach which ensures relevance, buy-in and ownership. This approach encourages shared responsibility for the framework, a critical factor if people are being called upon to deliver on its actions and projects.
  • Evaluate and track your employee’s awareness of, and buy-in to, your sustainability plans compared to other organisations, using the Sustainability Culture Indicator.

Other useful resources…