The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Sustainability - A Suspect Package?

26 June 2015 | Updated 01 January 1970
 
Businesses are finding it increasingly more difficult to implement and manage sustainability policies, according to research by the British Institute of Facilities Management.
 The annual BIFM Sustainability Survey, now in its ninth year, reveals a 20 per cent decline in confidence among businesses in their ability to implement and manage their environmental, sustainability and CSR policies compared to 2014.
Despite sustainability pledges featuring within all of the political manifestos this year, the response from business appears muted, with 40 per cent of respondents saying they thought their organisation was ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ at implementing sustainability, compared to over half (60 per cent) last year, and 43 per cent in 2013.
 This noticeable drop coincides with a reported increase in barriers to fulfilling sustainable practices. Physical constraints were highlighted by 80 per cent of respondents, while financial constraints (71 per cent) and a lack of organisational engagement (69 per cent) were the next most commonly cited obstacles, requiring organisations to sharpen their focus and modify their sustainability strategies if they are to reap the benefits of long-term sustainable business practice.

 The annual survey, this year in collaboration with Cambium and Acclaro Advisory, explores how UK organisations are approaching sustainability, what the key drivers and barriers to their sustainability policies are, and how they could be improved.

 In addition, the survey also found that over a third (36 per cent) of respondents had no formal reporting system or data collection process when measuring effective sustainability outputs, resulting in a lack of evidence when it comes to building and reinforcing the business case of sustainability among leadership teams.
 Furthermore, a distinct disconnect between the perceived importance of sustainability among varying tiers of management is apparent. Despite 81 per cent of CEOs and senior management reporting sustainability as being a very important issue for their business, only 61 per cent of middle management and 63 per cent of front line management reported the same. This suggests a dilution of messages as they are passed through the business, and the need for greater alignment, collaboration and communication of sustainability priorities.
 Gareth Tancred, CEO of BIFM said, “Despite increased pressure on businesses to be more sustainable, we are actually seeing a decline in their ability to do so. What is clear from our findings is that organisations need to re-think their approach to sustainability in the face of increasing barriers. In nine years of conducting this survey, 2015 has seen the biggest year-on-year decrease recorded and historically, sustainability has been dominated by a tick-box mentality by business which is undermining the long-term value of sustainability investment.
 “Whilst it is encouraging to see so many organisations regarding sustainability as an important part of their corporate agenda, businesses must adopt more formal processes to monitor and measure progress and avoid a short-termist view of sustainable business practice. What is needed to address the ‘sustainability crunch’ is more collaborative working, to look beyond purely environmental connotations such as energy consumption, climate change and waste management, and integrate policies aligned with societal sustainability, such as the Living Wage.  The risk of not doing so is that organisations are accused of only paying lip service to sustainability.”

Article written by Cathryn Ellis | Published 26 June 2015

Share



Related Articles

Six Ways Facilities Managers Can Plan For A More Sustainable Future

In honour of Earth Day, here are six simple ways facilities managers can plan for a more sustainable future.  It’s a common misconception that making...

 Read Full Article
Acorn Sustainability Report

Acorn Engineering Group has published its first free Sustainability Report which looks at the environmental and social performance of the business over calendar year...

 Read Full Article
Charities Benefit From Green Rewards

Green Rewards works with a number of corporate, local authority and university clients to provide bespoke services to engage and reward people for following sustainable...

 Read Full Article
The State Of The Nation

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has launched a series of online infographics designed to profile ‘The State of Sustainability in the UK Built...

 Read Full Article
Wake-up and Smell the Environmental Coffee

British Standard for the ‘circular economy’ launched BSI, the business standards company, has launched a new standard for the ‘circular...

 Read Full Article
The Business Case for Sustainability

Free participative workshops for law firms and professional services to encourage organisations to develop sustainable working practices and manage their carbon footprint...

 Read Full Article
Most Commit to Sustainability in Construction

A new report from Tata Steel has revealed that over 80% of construction industry is investing in sustainable strategies. The  report, 'Sourcing responsibly: A...

 Read Full Article
Edie Steady Go

Businesses are being urged to take up the last available spaces for dedicated advice clinics hosted at Edie Live, 17-18 May, at the NEC in Birmingham. The clinics...

 Read Full Article
Leadership Counts for Sustainability

Planet First has an early evening event (on 30 October) on the important part sustainability and leadership should go hand in hand and there's time to book in...

 Read Full Article
Builders Get New Toolkit to Construct Supply Chains

Contractors, house builders and developers, housing associations and other large procurers could benefit from a new toolkit designed to help them become involved with...

 Read Full Article