Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave
Rhiannon Szmigielski, Climate Care

June 5 is World Environment Day and a good time to reflect on the environmental impact of your business operations but also the impact on people - the staff who work for you, the communities you operate within and your customers.

These issues are intrinsically linked and many organisations are grappling with how to manage CSR programmes that deliver against a web of interrelated economic, environmental and social issues.

Shell's The Stress Nexus  is a great demonstration of the many factors that impact sustainability and just how complicated the balance of these relationships can be.



Meanwhile, PWCs Total Impact Measurement and Management graphic looks at the relationships between business, social and environmental impacts and is used as a tool to help identify the potential positive and negative impacts of business decisions at a systems level.



Whilst integrated and systems based approaches like these are now accepted at policy and strategy level, for those of us tasked with delivery of programmes, the complexity involved can make it hard to act at a practical level. The important thing is not to use this complexity as an excuse for inaction.

At ClimateCare we've always taken an integrated approach to tackling Climate and Sustainable Development Challenges. We help our business clients develop integrated Climate+Care programmes, designed from the outset to protect the environment, improve people's lives and generate business value.

Here are five tips from our experience that can help you develop an effective programme that will deliver against multiple targets:

  1. Focus on goals rather than interventions. What is it you want to achieve? Is it about cutting carbon emissions, protecting biodiversity, supporting entrepreneurs or empowering women? Focussing on the end goal will not only help you invest your money ways that will deliver maximum positive outcome, it will help you explain your actions in a simple way, despite taking complex decisions to get there.
  1. Don't act in isolation. What do others in your organisations want to achieve? Pulling together environmental, social development and business goals across the business can help focus activity and pool budgets allowing more effective action. Think beyond your own organisation to how you can scale by working with your supply chain, your staff, your customers and even your competitors.
  1. Identify the skill, expertise, knowledge and drive within your organisation and use this to steer your actions. For example if your skills lie in travel or logistics, how can you engage your colleagues and unlock their expertise to deliver sustainable development and environmental goals?
  1. Pick activities that are core to your business. If you are an airline, then taking action to reduce and offset carbon emissions might make more sense to your staff and your customers than investing in education programmes. If you are a publisher, the opposite is true.
  1. Measure, report and adjust. Being able to explain the difference you have made, is key to continuing support. Even more important is using this data to inform your decision making, changing course if necessary to ensure money is spent wisely to deliver positive impacts for people and the environment.

If you'd like some help to develop an integrated Climate and Sustainable Development programme for your business, or for help to make the business case for action, contact the ClimateCare team on +44(0)1865 591000.

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