A strong sustainability strategy is essential for building a resilient business. But the best sustainability strategy will only work if your people are able to translate it into action, take it to heart and make it part of their everyday work.

It can be tricky to get people’s attention and many internal campaigns on environmental or social issues lose momentum or fail to translate across functions or geographies.

But getting sustainability on everyone’s agenda will deliver tangible benefits. By boosting engagement, generating pride, and creating shareholder value, you’ll build confidence and reputation, both internally and externally.

So…

– How can you encourage people to embrace your sustainability strategy?

– How can you build understanding and support?

– And how can you put sustainability into action in a way that inspires real commitment?

Read our six suggestions below:

There are a few essential steps in any sustainability engagement programme, and the first is simple: “why are we doing this?”.

Getting the business case straight is a great place to start. A sustainability engagement programme only makes sense if it supports an ambitious and credible strategy, so it’s worth investing time, effort and careful consideration when developing yours. Pinpointing priorities and addressing issues that are relevant to your organisation will help your strategy feel authentic and become more easily embedded in the business.

The core story will be the lynchpin of your sustainability engagement programme.

It will communicate what it’s all about, and why it matters. And it will help you reach a wider audience, unlocking and promoting commitment throughout your organisation.

Showing you’re committed is crucial, so make the story future-proof – it should be fit for purpose for at least 3–5 years, with targets and objectives covering a similar time frame.

Having a strong set of forward-looking targets makes your commitments deeper and lasting. They also make it easy for people to trust you, and harder for cynics to discredit or disengage with what you’re saying.

Now you need to decide who to inform, inspire and involve – what do they need to know, feel and do for you to bring your sustainability strategy to life?

Giving people the information, tools and permission to define and drive change is crucial – particularly in large organisations where you’ll require contributions from people in various functions, locations and roles. Try to initiate early dialogue with the relevant teams. This helps shape communications and tightens up your story.

Arm people with what they need, locally and globally, for their part in putting the strategy into action.

Whether face-to-face, in print or in digital, equip people to stimulate discussion and commitment, and to spark conversation that expands awareness beyond an individual perspective.

The long-term nature of sustainability challenges means that you need to keep talking.

Shout about success – mark the milestones, share lessons learned, say ‘well done’ – after all, behaviour that’s rewarded is behaviour that’s repeated.

 

To get more insight on creating a strong sustainability strategy, simply download the 'Sharpening your story for a marathon or a sprint' below.

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