How can the charity sector keep up with expected sustainability demands – as measurable performance and tangible outcomes become standard?
For organisations to build long-lasting impact, a sustainability strategy must be at the heart of both your day-to-day operations and long-term gaze.
Putting theory into practice requires guidance, expertise, and collaboration.
Start by viewing your sustainability strategy as growing and offshooting from the following four areas.
Look at the make-up of your board. Does it need to be more diverse and inclusive?
A lack of diversity stunts sustainability – different voices and cultural liaisons are needed to rise to new levels of bold, future-fit leadership. The relationship is symbiotic.
Do you currently invest any surplus funds? If so, ensure your investment strategy has an ESG focus. Even better: align investments with your charitable purpose.
Your team can help too. Start by promoting good environmental stewardship encouraging staff to reduce, reuse, recycle. Then invite people to co-create and have co-ownership over sustainable initiatives.
Try linking these to professional development opportunities.
This empowers employees, boosting general happiness and sense of purpose.
Once you start measuring, you can start reducing.
Does your building have a good EPC rating? By 2025, you will only be able to rent properties EPC C or above. If you own your property, consider BREEAM or WELL accreditations; the latter offers a 35% non-profit discount.
Day-to-day energy efficiency can be achieved through using renewable sources, monitoring usage, and having set reduction targets.
Have you assessed your supply chain? Ensuring you do due diligence and chose suppliers and partners who align with sustainability goals is crucial. Avoid reputational risk: work with those who further your charitable purpose.
Give priority to local suppliers and markets to reduce emissions at source.
Consider greening fundraising contracts by putting provisions in place to ensure environmental aspirations are met.
Keeping up with sustainability
These four foundational questions can help you navigate, plan, and realise organisational strategy:
- What is your timeline to reach the goals you have set up?
- What are the risks and opportunity costs of inaction?
- What resources are required?
- What are the tasks you have identified to complete this work?
Want to take your sustainability strategy further?
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