live-theatre-mastermindLast Friday saw the final Corporate Sustainability Mastermind Group meeting of 2016. We met at the wonderful Live Theatre in Newcastle and had a great lunch at the Theatre's Caffe Vivo.

The subject of the meeting 'Embedding Sustainability in Capital Investment Decisions' - a recurring topic when we discuss other issues. We got so many great insights it was very difficult to boil them down to just twelve for a blog post, but here goes:

  • Use bureaucracy to your advantage – get Sustainability into the checklists and stage gates;
  • You don’t have to tag all sustainability projects as sustainability projects – if it’s needed, it’s needed, full stop;
  • Challenge the status quo and have a good business case prepared in advance;
  • Delegate the job of ‘policing’ decisions on Sustainability to others or you will become a pinch point;
  • Pick the big impact issues and let the small stuff go (80:20 rule);
  • Find the overlap between Sustainability requirements and company strategy;
  • Cosy up to key decision makers long before any decision is taken;
  • Understand the organisation’s financial rules inside out – they may be being applied in a way that unnecessarily prejudices against Sustainability;
  • Outcome based procurement allows potential suppliers to propose best way of fulfilling your needs;
  • Don’t consider anything with a negative impact on customer experience – it will almost certainly end in failure and rancour;
  • There’s always a focus on costs, but there’s nothing worse than reputational damage;
  • Make the case of the downside of less sustainable options/do nothing as well as the upsides of the sustainable options.

I've favoured the 'big strategic principles' in that list rather than the myriad of practical tactics which also arose. Alongside that were many company-specific ideas which we don't record as the Group operates under the Chatham House Rule.

If you are interested in the Mastermind Group then click here for more. The present group is based in the North of England, but we're investigating setting up a London branch in 2017, so if that interests you, please let me know as soon as possible.

 

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