25 Jan 2022

The benefits of having a sustainability partner

By Seismic
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Your sustainability partner serves as a guide, steering you toward the actions needed to achieve your long term sustainability commitments (and away from obstacles that may hinder your success!).

The decision to embark on a company-wide sustainability journey isn’t an easy one. With so many sustainability certifications, labels, frameworks, targets and terms currently being used, it’s difficult to know where to start. Luckily, many business leaders understand the urgency of the climate crisis and recognise that the actions of their own business can make a difference. This realisation has led to more sustainability commitments from companies; In fact, more companies are setting sustainability commitments than ever before.

Committing to a sustainability target is the first step and arguably the most important one. Nonetheless, what happens after is what makes or breaks the commitment. Having an experienced sustainability partner, an individual or team who can lead or support your journey, by your side can make a huge difference in your company’s ability to achieve its sustainability commitments.

You’ve made a sustainability commitment. Now what?

Once your sustainability commitment is made, your employees are responsible for putting the company’s commitment into action. For teams that lack sustainability experience or resources in-house, the sustainability strategy is often unclear, and some questions – what the plan of action is, what the priorities are and who will be responsible for what – are left unanswered. This is undoubtedly one of the worst ways to start an initiative as big as reducing a company’s carbon footprint or going net zero.

Often, it’s at this moment that companies realise the value of having a sustainability partner. Seismic has had the privilege of supporting a number of companies on their B Corp or sustainability journey so, today, we are sharing the top benefits of having a sustainability partner, as shared by our clients.

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One of the key benefits of a sustainability partner is in saving a company’s precious time and resources by clarifying which sustainability priorities and activities to focus on.

Sustainability fatigue is a common issue that companies tackling sustainability commitments can face – there are so many different sustainability activities you can do, but it’s unclear which ones you should tackle. Without the right guidance, you might start working on a sustainability area that’s not of high importance for your business. A sustainability partner will help you prioritise activities that are aligned with your company mission, are most relevant to your current and long term vision, and will have the greatest impact for your organisation.

“There is no such thing as sustainability commitment shortcuts – real, impactful change requires long term thinking and consistent action.”

A good sustainability partner should also act as a critical friend who asks difficult questions and provides honest feedback, while also supporting and encouraging your team on its sustainability journey. With an unbiased perspective guided by the right expertise, your team can save time and effort by making sure it is focusing on the right priorities from the start.

In the excitement of finally making a company commitment to sustainability, sometimes companies expect to see quick results. They forget or don’t realise that sustainable practices don’t get embedded overnight. There is no such thing as sustainability commitment shortcuts – real, impactful change requires long term thinking and consistent action. A critical friend and outside perspective will help you take a step back and see the full picture. Every incremental change makes a difference, and it’s important to stick to your commitment with the long term vision in mind.

Empowering your decision-making process

Taking environmental or social impact into consideration when making business decisions is still new for a lot of companies. Your sustainability partner is there to share their knowledge and expertise around a wide range of topics, from project management and prioritisation to knowledge around materiality assessments and overall best practice, so you can feel confident you’re making the right decisions for the company, for the environment and for positive social impact.

“Save time, money and resources by making good decisions from the start.”

With expertise and knowledge on your side, you’ll save time, money and resources by making good decisions from the start. Plus, having your sustainability partner as an extra resource will give your employees the confidence they need to implement new sustainable initiatives.

Ensuring sustainability is a business priority for the entire organisation

A sustainability partner can also act as an accountability partner. Each department or team’s “business as usual” activities are top of mind for most employees and, unfortunately, it’s quite common for sustainability commitments to fall by the wayside. The reality is, to achieve your commitments, sustainability must be embedded into every facet of your company and go hand-in-hand with other strategic business priorities. Having a sustainability partner means you’ll have an external stakeholder who will hold you to account. Regular check-in meetings with your sustainability partner, someone who tells you exactly what you need to do and how to stay on track, is a huge advantage for businesses that are serious about achieving their sustainability targets!

These are the benefits our clients have shared with us on what has been the greatest impact of our partnership on their company’s ability to achieve its targets. If you are embarking on a sustainability journey and need support to overcome any of the common issues we’ve laid out, get in touch.

Seismic has worked with more than 70 companies on their B Corp or sustainability journey. Visit our client stories page to learn more about how we’ve been able to help companies across a number of sectors.