The practical side of making a business more sustainable means that with the help of external experts we have completed the analysis of our carbon footprint. Subsequently, we have identified a decarbonisation strategy for implementation in 2022 and beyond. Analysing our carbon footprint helped us to understand what we control, what we contribute and what we can influence in the future. Unsurprisingly, like many businesses, our carbon emissions for 2020 were low when compared with 2019. However, our future ambitions for the sustainability performance that Acacia Evergreen supports will not just focus on our carbon emissions but the four pillars of our people, our planet, our value chain and our innovation. Building a sustainability initiative is more than measuring and implementing strategies – when we were assessing what difference Acacia Evergreen has made in a short space of time, a few changes became evident.
Awareness of sustainability for our business and individuals has increased. One effect of our initiative is our staff are interested to learn more about sustainability and how to apply it to the business. Growing awareness of being sustainable within Acacia is influencing every part of our business. The importance of sustainability for running a business has become increasingly clear. As we improve our ability to work sustainably, we must consider our supplier’s sustainability credentials too. While the financial benefits of sustainability have often been cited (energy saving = cost saving), it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Sustainability has become and is expected to become more integrated into the fabric of businesses [give example]. Additionally, now it is not unusual for clients to ask for a copy of our Responsible Business policy. As a result, it affects how and what we communicate with staff, clients, and other external stakeholders. The motivation to be more sustainable has been influenced by the pandemic, however it is also becoming clear that individuals also have a powerful desire to incorporate sustainable practices into their lives.
Perceptions & Scope of Sustainability
One of the comments received was that the biggest difference in the business is the significant appetite of all stakeholders for sustainability measures that contribute to our overall sustainability goals. Comments like these would suggest that knowledge of sustainability is increasing in value. We see an increase in an appetite for knowledge in the availability and uptake of sustainability training. The demand for information and a willingness to participate by all stakeholders throughout the business has been an indicator of the change in attitudes towards sustainability.
The degree to which sustainability is becoming embedded in our working lives has surprised many of our staff. It has also become evident that sustainability practices are more far reaching and nuanced than we had previously realised. The broad scope and influence of sustainability practices means that our knowledge of it is growing continuously. The effect that this has had is that now we ask questions like in what way is this decision or action contributing to making the business sustainable? Acquiring sustainability certifications like Eco Vadis which requires an in-depth analysis of how an organisation conducts business further influences our view of sustainability. Not least due to the types of training offered and the seriousness with which the process is taken to acquire certification.
The momentum for sustainability has grown exponentially since the start of the pandemic. That is one good thing that has come out of these terrible times. The idea of sustainability being a box ticking exercise has rapidly become outdated. It is now an area that everyone in the company wants to have a tangible way of assisting or supporting the initiative in realistic and focused ways. As a result, focusing on ways to increase our stakeholder’s knowledge of sustainable practices and the difference they make will be key to helping our people connect the dots between the four pillars of our Acacia Evergreen Initiative – people, planet, value chain and innovation. It is a transformative learning process and will be central to our business in the future. If you would like to learn more about how facilities management can support your business’ sustainability efforts, click here.