Two ways to create support for sustainability

The increasing interest in sustainability has again clearly emerged in the media in the past year. For example, a great deal of attention was paid to the sustainable clothing & textile chain agreement and the Paris climate agreement. The national government has also expressed the ambition all materials that are used in the Netherlands in 2050 to be recycled and reused (NOS, 2016).

Converting ambitions into a concrete sustainability policy is difficult. However, it has proved even more difficult to translate the sustainability policy into the workplace. From earlier research by Supply Value towards sustainable and circular procurement, (the lack of) support proved to be one of the biggest bottlenecks. [Bottlenecks and Success Factors]. The lack of support will sooner or later break up any change process. After all, the employees are the determining factor for a successful change process.

But why is creating support for sustainability so difficult? How can you best deal with this? Supply Value researched this between August 2016 and January 2017. The recommendations in the research are based on 14 interviews with managers and purchasers who are concerned with making the organization more sustainable. The organizations involved are active in the textile industry, milk processing, waste processing, and (semi) government, including Essenza Home, Interface, Campina, Arla, van Gansewinkel, NS and the national government.

The results of the research show that there are two ways in which support can be created:

Motivate your employees by inspiring them for sustainability

Enthusiasm runs like a thread through the change process and functions as a lever in creating support. But how enthusiastic your employees are for sustainability? Supply Value has for this the 'Leveraging Acceptance  or  Sustainability'model developed. This model provides insight into the creation of support (figure 1).

Figure 1 - Leveraging Acceptance or Sustainability model 

Raise organizational restrictions

In practice, the creation of support for sustainability is made more difficult by the way most organizations are organized. Consider, for example, having a modest sustainability strategy, the absence of concrete sustainability objectives, a lack of formal authority from the policy implementer and a non-sustainable corporate culture. These limitations reflect the non-commitment of the sustainability process. It is left to employees whether they participate in the sustainability of the organization.

Want to know more?

Do you want to know how you can motivate employees to get started with sustainability and how you can impose organizational restrictions? Are you curious about where you can best start creating support for sustainability? Download below the entire article in which the two methods of support creation and the ''Leveraging Acceptance or Sustainability'model to be explained further.

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