Cundall has a history of being a leader in sustainability. We practice what we preach and deliver amazing projects across the globe. We have won numerous awards and have had a number of external bodies confirm we are ahead of the field (Bioregional endorsed Cundall as a One Planet Company in 2012, the first consultant to achieve this). So why as a business did we decide to revisit our strategy?
Well things change, and just patting ourselves on the back won’t keep us as industry leaders. For example, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals did not exist in 2012. We needed to speak to stakeholders from inside and outside our business and see what we are doing well and what we needed to do more of, as well as doing a review of what the trends in sustainability were. We therefore embarked on a materiality review, which is summarised in the diagram below. It was undertaken by a group of staff that were identified as future leaders of our business, ensuring it was future proofed for the leaders of tomorrow.
Within the review, it was agreed that we needed a leadership team to review and approve the new business targets, due to their important and impact they will have. This group, called ‘SusComm’ (Sustainability Committee) comprised of senior leaders from across the business, from different locations and from different engineering disciplines.
SusCom set about then analysed and debating all the recommendations – in the context of everything else we are doing as a business to determine the most significant impacts.
This analysis and debate took time. What was great about the committee was that everyone was so passionate about having the most positive impact, they wanted to get this right. Sustainability is such an emotive subject and everything in sustainability is ultimately connected. For example, you can’t talk about operational energy without considering embodied energy which then leads you in the direction of supply chain, and the ethical production of materials. As a business we would all love to solve every problem now, but we can’t. To give clear direction and priorities in sustainability is a difficult but it is an important task so that maximum impact can be achieved.
And we have made it! We agreed on six priority impacts areas, which are:
- Climate Positive Action
- Zero Carbon Energy
- Materials and Supply Chain
- Health and Wellbeing
- Ethics and Equity
- Climate Change Adaptation
These are set out in our new sustainability roadmap, One Planet, One Chance.
So, in conclusion here are my top tips on writing a sustainability strategy;
- Sustainability is complex and there is no correct answer
- Prioritisation can be difficult, however without this, you will achieve less
- Factor in time for discussions and debates and most importantly time for reflection on opinions that may differ
- Include different stakeholders in the process both external and internal, different perspectives add lots of value and ensure that you are appropriately challenged to create the most robust strategy possible
- Once you agree your priorities, agree objectives and targets that clearly describe the next steps to all involved
If you would like assistance creating a sustainability strategy for your business or project, please contact me and I will be more than happy to help.
|Cundall recently has launched their new sustainability roadmap, One Planet, One Chance which includes far reaching targets including being a carbon positive business by 2025. Click here to view our full roadmap document.|