A sustainability policy and strategy is not just a buzz phrase, it is a structured framework to bring a huge amount of benefits to an organisation and the surrounding communities. If planned and implemented effectively, marked improvements to the wellbeing of employees and customers as well as enhancements to a brand can be achieved whilst cost and carbon savings are enjoyed.
Policy & Commitment
- Agree and write an original/new comprehensive sustainability policy and publish this on your website. This policy can be branded specifically for your organisation with a custom name in order to communicate with employees and customers.
- Signatories to climate change/action frameworks to show commitment. Some frameworks such as Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) will set a specific target to Net Zero by a particular year, outlining annual percentage reductions that are required to be made.
- Commitments could be made that utility contracts will be from a renewable source (ideally 100%) that carries a REGO certification in order to claim zero carbon for all gas and power supplies.
- Renewable energy installations such as solar PV and/or thermal, wind generation and battery storage could be explored in order to remove reliances from grid and help meet Net Zero targets.
Engage in an energy management strategy to explore technologies to reduce energy usages and carbon emissions, which can include:
- Boiler optimisation
- LED lighting upgrades and controls
- BMS optimisation
- Voltage optimisation
- Wind turbines
- Secondary metering to device level
- HVAC optimisation
- Pump and motor upgrades
- EV charging points
Continuously managing transport carbon emissions is an important part of the overall operational framework and sustainability policy. Some sustainable actions can include:
- Bicycle parking facilities plus a Cycle to Work scheme
- EV charging point installations
- Travel initiatives for staff
- Promotional posters or videos
- Joint studies with local universities and authorities
- Online pledges/commitments, e.g. such as upgrading to electric vehicles, vehicle sharing
A waste management strategy and policy should be included as part of an operational framework. An organisation should consider approaching a waste management provider to help create a policy in order to achieve zero waste to landfill. Some examples of waste management can be as below:
- Delivering training for staff members to maximise the use of recycling initiatives
- Focus on reducing quantity of waste by carrying out ‘re use’ initiatives. For example, donate used equipment
- Recycling items of furniture therefore diverting this from landfill. Use a local upholstering business, reupholster instead of buying new, again diverting from landfill and also supporting a local business.
- No individual waste bin under desks
Plastics should be included in the regular waste audits and progress should be monitored and reported in order to phase out the use of plastic within operations.
A water efficiency policy needs to be included within the operational framework which is audited and measured. Initiatives to be included can consist of:
- Waterless urinals and water efficient toilets
- Rainwater harvesting
- Leak detection installation
- Washroom management
- Smart water meter installation
- Consumption monitoring and targeting
Biodiversity should be a part of an operational framework sustainability strategy, with a commitment to enhance biodiversity both on-site and off-site. Some suggestions can include:
- Planting trees, hedges, bushes, to benefit carbon offsetting
- Introducing allotments to plant fruit/vegetables at operational sites or local communities and schools
- Building bird feeders, bug hotels, beehives and wormeries
A detailed discussion and plan should be made in order to create dedicated points of action and targeted groups that would need education. Education could be both internally and externally focused, with education for staff members and also for local schools, universities, council and authorities. Some examples of environmental education could be as below:
- Training and measures about how reducing plastic waste and tackling pollution levels
- General training and awareness of climate change actions and the increased importance of reducing global carbon emissions for the planet
- Training and on-boarding in order to ensure all staff are aware of the organisation’s sustainability policy
- Regular updates/meetings on progress and potential new initiatives that an organisation will implement
- Creation of an environmental education programme for all staff members
- Collaboration with local schools and communities as education sessions and awareness
Communication & Engagement
In order for a sustainability policy to be successful, the way this is communicated and the engagement with staff members is majorly important. Some measures listed below should be considered in order to have a organisation-wide collective focus:
- Have a sustainability section on your website, with regular updates to outline progress on targets
- Advertise, list updates and report progress on social media platforms
- Include sustainability as a key agenda topic in meetings or have specific energy efficiency meetings to discuss action points