The significance of measuring sustainable impactJune 2015
Last month Acre announced the winners of the first Acre365 recognition programme, writes Andy Carltand. There are other award schemes in the sustainability field, but Acre365 is different as it judges entrants only upon the impact they have within the first year of employment with a new company, a critical period where the foundations of change can be laid that can help address critical challenges.
In early 2014 we began to explore a model of measuring our own performance according to the impact that we were having on key environmental and sustainability issues via the candidates we placed. Recruitment firms play a key role of catalysing market places; we do so by sourcing individuals for organisations who can drive businesses or agendas forward. If we are judged according to this criteria, we know that we’ll be both fulfilling our clients requirements whilst growing as a commercial entity. We’ll also have a business to be proud of. This thinking formed the basis of Acre365 as well as a new mission statement for Acre: “Acre connects professionals with a common purpose; to create social and environmental value and promote good business. We measure our success one individual at a time.”
Judging for Acre365 took place in February 2015 and the winners were announced in April 2015. Three key themes stood out:
The use of data. The best applications measured and manipulated data in order to quantify and create visibility of key sustainability factors within their companies – frequently this applied to energy usage, carbon or HSE data but more frequently, broad social, environmental and financial impacts were measured in a holistic fashion. Winner of the Environment Impact Category, Paul Eggleton - Energy Director at Mitie (on behalf of Lloyds Banking Group), had a target to reduce its environmental footprint by 20% by 2020. At the heart of his changes was a push to move to a more data driven approach.
Communication and relationship skills. Evidence of engaging audiences through a wide range of communication tools such as events, intranets and speaking events were prevalent. In particular, those who were able to communicate the commercial benefits of sustainability programmes were seen to be effective in their roles. Acre365 Combined Category winner Christina Houlgrave developed an economic model to place a value on the economic, social and environmental impacts of Skanska in the UK. Key to the effective delivery and utilisation of the data gathered was her ability to achieve support from the Finance department and the senior management team. Without the ability to effectively engage with the business, data collection can be futile.
Innovation, particularly with digital mediums. The judges were particularly impressed by the development of digital tools and platforms which enabled businesses to achieve larger impacts, particularly due to the ability to achieve dramatically increased numbers of touch points. Robbie Bates, senior designer of consultancy Uscreates, won the Social Impact Category by virtue of devising a digital toolkit which allowed patients and the public to recommend service improvements to the NHS.
A key aim of Acre365 was to curate the actions and activity of high impact people, some of whom are mentioned above. We hope that by showcasing what such people have achieved, others will learn and be inspired. Many case studies are available at www.acre.com/acre365. We also expand on the three themes described above in our white paper “An insight into Success” which can be downloaded from the same page.
Andy Cartland is founder and director of Acre
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