What should SBC keep doing, stop or change?
Abbie Reynolds, Executive Director, SBC and Volker Kuntzsch, CEO, Sanford and SBC Advisory Board Deputy Chair talk about what they’ve heard from members in 2018 and what might change as a result.
Conversations are at the heart of sustainability. Our members all face many of the same challenges to do what’s best for your business, your customers and for New Zealand as a whole. The best way to tackle those is by sharing your knowledge and experience, and asking questions.
Within SBC, we want to help you to push the boundaries of what is possible in sustainability. Listening to what members have to say helps us improve how we do that.
We do this in a number of ways. Earlier this year, we put out a survey to 230 sustainability managers, CEOs and communications teams to find out what you think of our work and how effective it is.
Our Advisory Board hosted dinners with a diverse group of members so they could hear what is on your minds. And we see you regularly at our events and in one to one catch ups, where we try to make sure we’re checking in on what’s going on for you.
All of these conversations help us figure out what’s working for you and what we could do better. We discussed this feedback at the last Advisory Board meeting on 18 October.
Reflecting on what we have heard, it’s clear that we’re getting a lot right for you, and at the same time some areas clearly emerged as needing more focus or more work. We think about these through the four main pillars of our strategy.
Create fellowship and belonging
Most members think we’re doing a reasonable job of fostering a sense of fellowship and belonging. Building that sense of a sustainability community – we’re all in this together – is very important to us.
You told us you want more networking, and more opportunities to connect with and learn from each other. And as our membership grows, particularly in the South Island, we need more networking opportunities outside Auckland, and we also need to talk more about what our projects are trying to achieve, and how you can be involved.
Make sustainability the norm and then unavoidable
We know that really effective change happens when the whole organisation gets on board. One highlight was that members see more conversations in their workplaces about sustainability initiatives, and more engagement at different levels than in previous years – something SBC is trying to encourage through forums and projects involving not just sustainability managers and chief executives, but also others like Directors, procurement managers communications teams, human resources and marketing.
We will be looking to develop more get-togethers and capability-building events for specific roles, and in particular the C-suite.
Make sustainability easy and clear
New sustainability issues arise at a dizzying pace and from all sorts of angles, from water quality and plastic waste to youth unemployment. Understanding what issues are emerging, especially from overseas is increasingly important to members. We were heartened to see that the work to raise awareness of emerging issues and big global and local trends is valued by members, and they want more of it.
Given how fast new issues emerge, there is still work to do on how to help members prioritise which ones to address first, and how to practically implement change. We will also continue to provide advice directly to members as needed on the issues you’re facing, as they arise.
Make sustainability inspirational and aspirational
Story-telling about sustainability is a key part of influencing change among businesses, customers and stakeholders, and we have heard you want more support to help tell your stories. We will also look at how we showcase best practice, perhaps through case studies.
We’ll keep talking to members, our Advisory Board and key partners on what our next steps are to act on this feedback. But we’ll start with being clearer about SBC’s and partners’ roles and responsibilities in projects, continue to scan the horizon for emerging issues, ramp up the member networking opportunities and keep telling stories and triggering conversations about sustainability among people across the whole business.
We are here to inspire businesses be the best for New Zealand and the world. In 2019, we will continue to build this momentum and we hope members will tell us if we are achieving these goals.