Our comment: Let’s talk sustainability

After an initial hiatus in sustainability activity at the start of the lockdown associated with COVID-19, we are now seeing a surge in activity, with much of this following a common theme: supporting individuals to act in a more sustainable way by improving their ‘carbon literacy’ and making information and advice easily accessible. This all contributes to ‘green recovery’ which is the ambition as we look to support the economy coming out of lockdown.

SWM and many of our members and partners have been leading the way in these areas for some time and we have lots of resources that can help you.

At a national level, we have been working with the Committee on Climate Change to advise on how the next Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA), due in 2021, can be more accessible to it’s primary audience. Through stakeholder interviews and learning from good practice elsewhere, we have suggested improvements to the content, look and feel of the next CCRA. We  know how important this will be so that government can effectively advise on how the country needs to deal with the climate emergency. The next steps are to develop a communications plan, improve the CCRA website, produce engaging factsheets outlining climate risks to key sectors and support stakeholder engagement. We will report back on this work next year! We’ve also been supporting the Heritage Fund since March 2018 and recently delivered a webinar for their staff and applicants for their funding.

Locally, we’re working with various organisations to help their teams embrace sustainability and contribute to internal objectives and targets. We recently delivered a webinar with our members West Midlands Combined Authority and Mott MacDonald, discussing how we can ‘Raise ambition and improve stakeholder engagement using the SDGs‘. We hope that the 50+ attendees went away with some ideas for action.

We’re working with various local authorities including Wolverhampton and Worcester to help engage internally and externally on their sustainability strategies and action plans. We recently delivered an online webinar for a large business in Warwick aimed at showcasing personal action on sustainability. There are many more examples on our website.

SWM’s role is to help organisations through:

  • InnovationUsing new ideas, technologies, services and processes to make positive changes quicker and more effectively
  • Leadership: Leading by example and promoting the ideas and perspectives of influencers and policymakers who can inspire and make a difference
  • Collaboration: Enabling the identification of partnerships and brokering connections between sectors to develop more powerful, sustainable solutions
  • Celebrating success: Sharing good practice and promoting the achievements of our members and stakeholders and enabling these to be scaled up and applied elsewhere.

We’re encouraged to see so many organisations investing the time and money in supporting their people to both understand why sustainability is important to all of us, and also to take action and achieve sustainable outcomes.