3 secrets to creating a sustainable culture

According to a new report, a company’s most effective strategies for integrating sustainability into corporate culture are likely to come from the bottom up or from outside their organization.

These insights resulted from a recent workshop of senior sustainability and HR executives hosted by Canadian Business for Social Responsibility and the Network for Business Sustainability. Convened by Barb Steele of CBSR and facilitated by Professor Tima Bansal of the Richard Ivey School of Business, the workshop asked participants how they integrate CSR into their organizational cultures.

The resulting insights were distilled into the following top three “secrets” to creating a sustainable culture:

  1. Collaborate with other organizations. Find NGOs and other businesses who value sustainability and work with them to implement environmental and social programs.
  2. Create a safe place for bold ideas. Reframe business innovation within the context of sustainability. For example, innovations to save the company money may also encourage a reduction in carbon footprint.
  3. Tap into grassroots employee energy. Empower employees to be sustainability champions within your organization and encourage them to set their own sustainability targets for performance reviews.

The insights are in contrast to conventional management wisdom, which assumes that business strategies are closely guarded and emerge from the top down. Clearly, navigating the uncharted territory of sustainability demands new, unconventional business practices.

As those interested in sustainability and human resources best practice, you are invited to download the report: Embedding Sustainability in Organizational Culture.