The commitments made in covenants for sustainable entrepreneurship are not nearly concrete enough, the Dutch Social-Economic Council recently announced. Although a great deal of initial enthusiasm can be observed when the goals and plans are first developed, the execution that follows is typically hesitant and much slower than agreed.
Governments have towering ambitions: a number of local councils in the Netherlands are aiming for a completely energy-neutral economy by 2030 or 2035. Both public and private parties which have ostensibly committed to ambitious improvements, however appear to fall short in execution.
Local governments often have a high level of enthusiasm and energy for sustainability goals - but in the absence of a sharp and realistic road map for execution, that enthusiasm tends to dissolve quickly. That is why it is advisable to schematically summarize the programme on a single page, to visualize your programme’s cohesion. Are the goals attainable? Do the individual project results lead to accomplishing the project goal? Did we think of all facets of sustainability? There are different ways to create a plan on a page, such as a goal tree or OGSM. This way, you are able to formulate clear transition pathways which help to channel the initial enthusiasm effectively. We advise to keep the scheme digitally up to date and visible for all stakeholders.
Reporting? Sigh. "We'd rather focus on solving the problem than do even more reporting,” we often hear. That makes sense: after all, reporting consumes a lot of time and energy. It is however a bitter necessity: without reports, the progress of sustainability projects is completely invisible, required people and resources are less readily available, and steering committees are forced to adjust blindingly. An extra complication of sustainability programmes is that a range of different departments, companies and other external organizations together are responsible for accomplishing the results. Consequently, progress updates are fragmentally delivered - making a shared, transparent and efficient reporting system inevitable. The simpler, the better: Bizaline for example created a system enabling project members to deliver their input through a simple automated email. Subsequently, the results of all involved parties can be found on one central platform.
The municipal councillor is an example of an important stakeholder that has to be updated about project’s progress, as well as the spending of hours and budget. To stimulate a productive dialogue between programme team and councillor, it is important to clearly pair the progress of sustainability projects to the council’s policy goals. When that link is insightful, it improves synergy between municipal counsellor and programme team. Also chances of collaboration with the different stakeholders can then be more easily and quickly exploited.
No matter the importance of sustainability projects, results are not always very visible.To ensure sustainability is - and stays - more front-of-mind with project members, it is crucial to show their contribution. This way it is also easier to adjust and keep the focus on the most promising projects. Moreover, it becomes possible to provide constant progress insight to stakeholders and co-signers of covenants. Only then you can trust ambitions to become reality.
Bizaline is a consultancy for change and programme management in Utrecht. The above reflects our own views and experiences; but we are always interested in learning from our readers' insights. Feel free to drop by our office for a chat and don't hesitate to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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