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Six shines a light: Does sustainability have a prioritisation problem?

Our expert speakers answer our questions on barriers to activating sustainability plans.

As COP28 fast approaches, missed climate targets are under the spotlight, leaving businesses wondering why they should focus on their sustainability plans if the government and international powers that be aren’t committed.

Ahead of our upcoming webinar, Six shines a light: Does sustainability have a prioritisation problem?, we sat down with Benjamin Camus, Director of Corporate Environmental Solutions at Evolution Markets, and Catherine Dineley, Head of Group Culture for Lloyds Banking Group, to ask them some of our questions on the internal and external barriers businesses face when activating their sustainability plans.

Here are their insights:

Benjamin - in your opinion, what are the main barriers to activating sustainability plans?

I believe that organisations perceive three core barriers when looking to activate their sustainability plans, namely: ROI, Reputation and Regulation.

  • ROI - There is an expectation that activating a sustainability plan will be expensive and that there is no short term ROI, so investment is placed in other aspects of a business instead
  • Reputation - Companies are scrutinised by the press and the public. There is often a fear that one bad move in the sustainability space can ruin a business, resulting in them feeling that it’s less dangerous to do nothing
  • Regulation - Every country is different. There is no standardised regulation for sustainability and, on top of the lack of guidelines, many international powers do not show commitment to their targets, leaving businesses only with a mindset of what they can’t do and not what they can do to activate their plans

In addition to this, there’s still a misunderstanding around the topic of sustainability. Too many people still think that sustainability only means ‘being green’, but it’s so much more. It’s about being financially and commercially stable - you need to make sustainability sustainable for you.

Catherine - why do you think businesses struggle to overcome these barriers?

We’ve come a long way in the past 10 years - it’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to businesses tackling sustainability. Most businesses do want to make changes towards being more sustainable. With that said, it can be tough to know where to start and, when it’s tough to know where to start, it can sometimes be easier to save the perceived difficult task for later.

One of the hardest parts of activating a sustainability plan and overcoming these barriers that Benjamin has mentioned, is finding a meaningful connection. When you make a problem more human, suddenly people are part of the solution and the other barriers seem more manageable - but this takes effort.

Benjamin - as someone who helps businesses start on their journeys towards sustainability, how seriously do you think organisations take their commitment to activating their plans?

The truth is, every business has their own reason for starting their journey towards sustainability. Contrary to popular belief, most organisations tend to activate sustainability plans on a voluntary basis and only few are doing it out of an obligation from regulators or due to public pressure. ROI for these businesses can take many forms outside of the financial, for instance attracting and retaining talent.

A business that survives is one that provides more than the day-to-day. The organisations that show the greatest level of commitment and, indeed, commercial success are not the greenwashers, but those who choose sustainability for the right reasons and activate their plan in the right way for them.

Regardless of the reasons for starting your journey, it’s important to stay committed, even when faced with challenges. It’s about long term commitment not long term gains.

Catherine - what do Benjamin’s comments mean from a cultural perspective?

Sustainability impacts so much of our lives, both personally and professionally and, as Benjamin says, activating a plan is a long term commitment. Targets are great but, at the end of the day, they’re targets - you need to give people the knowledge to make conscious decisions and fundamentally change behaviour to make activation work.

Sometimes it can feel like an insurmountable task, but it’s not about being a sustainability expert. It’s about putting a stake in the ground and saying it’s everybody’s challenge and we all need to be part of the solution.

Looking for ways to supercharge sustainability in your business?

Join Benjamin, Catherine and our Senior Sustainability Strategist, Laura Millar, in our upcoming webinar - Six shines a light: Does sustainability have a prioritisation problem?

Secure your spot today for Tuesday 28th November at 12PM and be one of the first to receive our ultimate guide to activating sustainability plans after the webinar.

Find out more about our expert panel below:

Benjamin Camus, Director of Corporate Environmental Solutions for Evolution Markets

Having worked across the sustainability and carbon industry space for eight years, Benjamin directs a global team of climate experts and provides a breadth of services and market-based solutions. Benjamin has been involved in several carbon project developments and investments in Latin America and Africa, as well as supporting international companies to define their internal carbon strategies and Net Zero objectives.

Catherine Dineley, Head of Group Culture for Lloyds Banking Group

Catherine has worked across the area of organisational culture, in the Oil & Gas sector and more recently in Financial Services. Catherine’s expertise is in designing and delivering cultural change and transformation grounded in behavioural change. Recently, leading an award-winning programme to restate Lloyds Banking Group’s values, with one specifically focussed on sustainability.

Laura Millar, Senior Sustainability Strategist for Six

As a Senior Sustainability Strategist for Six, Laura leads brands in navigating and communicating sustainability from a human-centred perspective. With over a decade of experience in brand and communications strategy, plus a Climate Change Science and Policy Master’s degree, Laura helps organisations work towards a cleaner, greener and more inclusive world of tomorrow.


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