Getting Skin in the Sustainability Game
I’ve written before about the need to get skin in the game for sustainability – to turn spectators into participants. Otherwise many of your colleagues will watch your efforts with mild curiosity without ever understanding that they have to actually do something. A much used, but pertinent quote comes from Marshall McLuhan:
There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.
While that’s the ideal, the difficult bit is getting people to understand how their decisions tie into sustainability. There are several techniques that can help:
- Involvement: challenge people to come up with solutions in their sphere of operations;
- Aligning systems: making sure the right people have the right responsibilities;
- Leadership: people believe what they see, not what they read – active leadership will go a long way to help;
- Branding: some of the best sustainability programmes – M&S’s Plan A, Interface’s Mission Zero and Unilever’s Sustainable Living spring to mind – have really strong in your face branding to ram it home that “this is how we do things around here”;
- Training & awareness: this must be carried out at critical points eg induction.