The Culture of Sustainability

Solar panels in the shape of a flower

Is sustainability embedded or added on?

Culture – one of our obsession topics here at ICC and a concept that businesses often find difficult to define. Some foundation questions that we ask when getting to know our clients include:

  • What words would you use to describe your current culture?
  • How would your employees describe it?
  • How aligned is the organisation around its purpose?
  • Is this visible in values and behaviours?
  • How would you like to see your culture develop?
  • What actions are you taking to achieve this desired culture?
  • What’s working? What isn’t?

Many organisations have this nailed, others know where they want to be but are unclear on how to get there. There’s also some that describe their culture as something of a ‘happy mystery’, it feels great but they can’t articulate what IT is. We get to support an array of clients at different stages in their cultural development. Here’s one example of a culture guided by purpose:

Last week our Co-Founder Kenton and Sarah, our Director of Operations, visited the HQ of Silhouette Group eyewear manufacturers of evil eye sports eyewear in Linz, Austria. The team showcased the impressive manufacturing facilities – the machinery is made on-site or locally within 50 miles, and all the production materials are sourced locally too. The entire team at the facility were buoyant and enthusiastic, staff turnover is extremely low. Sarah asked about the solar ‘flowers’ she’d spotted when driving into the site, and was told the business is nearly carbon neutral. Greenery was abundant across each area of the factory. The practice of caring for the environment is so engrained in the organisation that it simply isn’t considered as a cultural measurable, it’s just a given element of their DNA. How remarkable!

The three on-site solar ‘flowers’ are actually flower-shaped arrays of solar panels that rotate to maximize exposure to the sun. They currently generate approx. 4,000 kWh each year. However, the solar ‘flowers’ were just the beginning of Silhouette’s solar journey. Today, they have solar panels covering the rooftops of their site, producing 1,142,000 kWh of green electricity each year. Any additional CO2 emissions are offset each year via purchasing certificates from social Gold Standard projects, proven to reduce greenhouse gases while balanced by supporting local ecosystems and the people who live in them.

This week has seen the celebration of International Forests Day so it seems appropriate to remain optimistic that many more organisations will create such cultures of sustainability fully embedding renewable practices in their processes, rather than added as an afterthought.

If it’s time for a cultural tweak or full reset, get in touch to find out more about the ICC Cultural Performance Analysis – a simple diagnostic tool that will give you in-depth insights into your organisation’s culture. We’d love to hear from you!

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