Sustainability still driven by ‘box-ticking’, not conviction
UK businesses are missing out on a range of benefits by operating on the ‘border’ of compliancy when it comes to sustainable business practice, according to the annual sustainability survey from the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM).
The survey, led by BIFM in collaboration with Acclaro Advisory, and sponsored by Open Energi, investigated what aspects of the sustainability agenda organisations are engaging with, and the drivers that are bringing issues to the forefront of business.
Despite two-thirds of businesses (60%) reporting that sustainability policies are integrated into their business effectively, 78% cited corporate image as the main driver for doing so, closely followed by an increase in regulation (77%). This suggests a ‘box-ticking’ approach to sustainability instead of businesses embracing and investing in longer-term practices and the advantages of ‘spending to save’.
In the face of ambitious sustainability targets forecast over the coming years and increasing demands of regulation forcing energy and waste issues further up the corporate agenda, the survey says that there also remains too much of a ‘short-term’ view among senior executives and board-level who are choosing instead to focus on ROI of a few years versus the longer-term.
Further, the findings reveal that reporting is not done effectively enough and that sustainability measurement tools that are available are not being used correctly, or utilised to their full extent, resulting in a lack of evidence-based ROI.
Gareth Tancred, chief executive of BIFM, commented: “It is encouraging to see that over half of businesses we engaged with are imbedding sustainability into the heart of their business practices. However, it is concerning to see that this is being driven primarily by corporate image and legislative requirements versus a desire to want to be a better and more sustainable business.”