Latest Wisdom from the Sustainability Masterminds
Just before Christmas, the Corporate Sustainability Mastermind Group met at the Biscuit Factory in Newcastle. The topic was capacity building and engagement but as usual the conversation ranged widely and took in quite a few points about green procurement in particular. The group meets under the Chatham house rule so we cannot reveal who said what, but here are just some of the learning points arising from the discussion:
- Think different – big carbon cuts require radical innovation;
- Stretch targets give time for capital investment;
- Only certify if and when required or there is unlikely to be a payback;
- Analytics have progressed fast, but context hasn’t kept up (eg toxin limits are often set at lowest detectable levels);
- Use ‘future-proofing’ as a driver to go beyond compliance;
- Use fear of legislation (eg Reach) as a driver for action;
- Use hardnosed sustainability consultants, many are too woolly;
- “No demand” often means people don’t know what’s possible;
- It is critical to change the pernicious ‘green = cost’ mindset;
- Deliver people’s pet projects under guise of sustainability to improve acceptance;
- Mandatory sustainability training can devalue the subject to ticking boxes;
- Link behaviour to core of business and client satisfaction;
- Output oriented procurement (letting suppliers write specification) can drive innovation in suppliers;
- Forward commitment procurement can help get your supply chain ready for the future;
- Contracts which ‘turn the screw’ on sustainability requirements can drive innovation;
- Impact of green procurement is wider than one contract as it makes greener options available to others;
- Contracts need to be cognisant of potential future regulatory changes.
I’m looking forward a fantastic 2016 for the group and so are its members – Colin Thirlaway, the global sustainability lead for Black&Decker, has described the group as “invaluable” – you don’t get much better praise than that!
We have one place available on the group for a sustainability manager or sustainability director from a large organisation, preferably based in the north of England. If you would like to join a group or want more details then do not hesitate to get in touch.