I’ve recently written a report for ENDS looking at how businesses organise for greater sustainability.
Based on a survey of UK companies, Organising for Sustainability shows how organisations are increasingly developing their approach to sustainability, but also some of the pitfalls that are preventing progress. One of the most important is a lack of support for sustainability departments from other central departments, especially finance, R&D, business management and sales and marketing.
This appears to be holding back corporate sustainability efforts in general and the integration of sustainability into core business strategy in particular.
The report finds facilities, supply chain and HR work most closely with sustainability teams. This is because a lot of sustainability plans are focused on improving efficiency and protecting brand reputations. It’s a good start, but companies need to challenge their existing business models and ask whether they are fit for the future.
We also find that larger companies tend to have sustainability teams of about five staff, but that any organisation wanting to be a sustainability leader might need to consider at least doubling this number.
There appears to be no clear relationship between where sustainability teams sit in organisations and level of commitment to sustainability aims. UK companies take a wide variety of approaches, from having a separate sustainability department or placing it within other departments ranging from marketing to HR.
Download Organising for Sustainability for free (site registration required).