Have you ever considered the environmental impact your business is having on the world around you? Increasingly, firms in the A/E/C industry are taking a closer look at how they consume resources and manage environmental challenges. If you are just beginning your sustainability journey, consider these tips.
- Align with Your Values. Consider your company’s values related to sustainability. How do you wish to be known? Is it for your community service? Sustainable projects? Diversity and inclusion programs? All of the above? Also, think about how you align with your clients’ needs for triple bottom line solutions that make communities and organizations more resilient.
- Articulate a Policy. Once you understand sustainability’s place in your company, write it down. Formalize a sustainability commitment—whether it’s in the form a formal policy, a vision statement, or a sustainability statement in your corporate overview. Ensure your employees, clients, and even prospective employees can easily access it to learn what sustainability means to you.
- Build a Team and Engage Others. Start at the top and establish buy-in from senior management, while also aligning a team to drive engagement at the grass-roots level. For example, Gannett Fleming’s Corporate Sustainability Team works to advance our sustainable commitments through programs and policies. Each of our 60+ offices has a sustainability coordinator responsible for building the culture of sustainability through local initiatives and programs, giving employees at all levels and across all geographies, an opportunity to join, advance, and share in our sustainability journey.
- Establish the Baseline. It’s critical to set a baseline against which your efforts will be measured. How much water, power, or other resources does your firm currently consume? What is your current carbon footprint? You may need to invest in technology to measure your operations.
- Set Goals & Monitor Progress. Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) goals and tie them to a yearly plan. For each initiative, assign a person(s) to gather the data, define the metrics and timeline for success, and set a period for reporting progress.
- Adapt & Evolve. Sustainability is a living part of your company. Allow it to grow, adjust, and evolve to meet the needs of your employees, clients, and external stakeholders.
Gannett Fleming formally launched a corporate sustainability program more than eight years ago with a mission to benchmark its progress in reducing environmental impacts, driving inclusion and diversity, developing leaders, and designing world-class infrastructure systems that improve communities and sustain the world. See how we are advancing in our 2018 Corporate Sustainability Report. As our complex world continues to present economic, environmental, and social change, we are ever-focused on leaving the world a better place than we found it.
Ali is the chief marketing officer of Gannett Fleming and a member of its Corporate Sustainability Team.