Avertim started our sustainability journey in 2014 and we have recently been awarded Ecovadis Gold Certification. Here we share 3 key lessons learned and 5 best practice recommendations for ongoing corporate sustainability.
Insights from Avertim's Corporate Sustainability journey: what we know now.
Corporate sustainability is increasingly crucial for companies, enabling them to make a positive impact on the challenge we all face.For some companies, it has become more than just a responsability; it is an opportunity to forge innovative business models that prioritise social, environmental and economic sustainability.
In this article, our experts share 3 key lessons learned and give 5 best practice recommendations for organisations embarking on their own sustainability journey.
We believe in sharing not just our achievements, but also the bumps in the road. We have learned a lot on this ongoing journey.We draw inspiration from other companies and we want to contribute to the collective knowledge around sustainability.
INSIGHT 1 : Prioritising sustainability initiatives is key to meaningful impact
As we reflect, one thing stands out: prioritisation is the linchpin of our sustainability success. And, when it comes to corporate sustainability, defining your prioritities is no easy task.
- How do we ensure that every sustainability step we take serves our driving causes?
- How can we focus our efforts?
It is easy to become lost in the sea of good intentions. Priorities must be firmly rooted - in your business model and the causes you choose to support - or your effort risk becoming diluted, scattered, and ineffective.
Prioritising allows you to channel your resources, expertise, and enthusiasm effectively. It creates a ripple effect, so you can concentrate your efforts on subjects where you can make the most significant impact. This approach fosters coherence and understanding in your activities and communication.
Prioritisation is Avertim's guiding light. We conducted a Materiality Assesment to highlight the most important initiatives expected by our stakeholders and then we focused our initiatives on three core causes: Health, Education and the Environment. These causes are deeply intertwined with our business purpose and expertise.
Prioritising sustainability means selecting what matters most to your business and mission. It's about making choices that create a profound impact, and not just random ripples in the corporate sea.
INSIGHT 2: See sustainability reporting and certification as a structure, not a checkbox
As our causes and priorities became clear, we realised structuring sustainability initiatives required more than good intentions. We needed a solid roadmap.
- How should we proceed?
- How can we structure our organisation to serve our causes?
- How can we measure the impact of our projects on their contribution to these causes?
Sustainability reporting was key to understanding these questions. It isn't just about ticking off a compliance checkbox - it unlocks doors and lights the way in this labyrinth.
Reporting forces us to articulate or values, our commitments and our achievements transparently. This process demands reflection, measurements and accountability.
But the real insight came with certification. Certifications like EcoVadis and B Corp are more than accolades; they became our compass and standard-bearers of excellence. For example, in conducting gap analysis based on B Corp principles, this strategic exercice enabled us to align our initiatives with industry-leading standards.
Sustainability reporting and certification emerged as the crucial frameworks allowing us to move beyond compliance, transforming good intentions into impactful actions. This means sustainability is not just a label but a daily reality within Avertim.
INSIGHT 3: Harness the power of a PMO for efficient sustainability enhancement
Sustainability is complex. It demands specific skills,resource allocation and a structured approach. As our initiaitve expanded, we realised a lack of coordination and the amount of people involved were hindering our progress.
- How could we make the best use of management's time and ensure their wholehearted endorsement?
- How could we engage employees?
- How could we maintain a clear strategic direction while welcoming innovative ideas?
After several trials, we arrived at a solution that has proven remarkably effective. We use a Project Management Office (PMO) structure and governance as a tool for managing our sustainability projects portfolio.
Here is why it matters:
- Centralised Coordination: By acting as a PMO, our project board became the linchpin, centralising initiaitves from four countries and ensuring seamless implementation. This streamlined approach eliminates redundancies, minimises resource wastage, and ensures adherence to timelines.
- Efficient Information Exchange: The PMO approach played a crucial role in ensuring smooth information exchange between project owners and the project board, so the board can prioritise initiatives, and outline strategies.
- Overcoming Resistance to Change: Change is often met with resistance. the PMO board are skilled in managing change and can tackle this issue head-on. They ensure that new initiatives are embraced by concerned departments and that thhese initiatives become lasting improvements.
- Top-Down and Bottom-up Synergy: Our PMO approach brought about a harmonious management's valuable time while fostering engagement and involvement among employees.
Our PMO structure and governance transforms sustainability management into a well-organised project with a clear goals and measurable outcomes. They have helped us navigate corporate sustainabilty, ensuring that it is not just good intentions but a strategic and effective journey towards a better future.
5 best practice corporate sustainability recommendations
As we look at what we learnt so far, we can share these five key sustainability practices.
Define YOUR causes:
Prioritising specific sustainability initiatives is essential. Ensure your priorities align with your business model and the causes that matter most to your organisation.
Embrace sustainability reporting:
It's not just compliance, it's a tool to transparently articulate your values, commitments and achievements, adding sustainability into your organisation's DNA.
Certifications are more than accolades - they set rigourous benchmarks, pushing you beyond complaince and raising the bar for your sustainability performance.
Create a sustainability portfolio organisation:
Manage sustainability projects efficiently through a PMO structure and governance. This centralises coordination, enables transparent communication, and overcomes resistance to change. It helps you to engage your workforce and leverage their expertise, and to set and monitor measurable goals.
Incorporate sustainable practices in every single part of your organisation:
Embed sustainability into daily operations, from procurement to product and services design, and encourage sustainable practices throughout the entire value chain.
On the ongoing quest for corporate sustainability, it is easy to become lost in a maze of well-intentioned initiatives. Sustainability is a shared social effort, inspired by proven best practices, and we hope our journey's learnings can help you on yours.
Avertim started its sustainability journey in 2014. Having recently been awarded EcoVadis Gold certificatio, we are proud of what we have done so far and looking forward to what we will achieve next.
We will continue to strive to fully integrate sustainability into our operations and to expand our service portfolio into sustainability, sharing our experience and expertise with our clients.
Want to explore what works and how to prepare for the future of corporate sustainability? Get in touch to discuss our - or your - sustainability journey.