BASIS - The British Association for Sustainable Sport

Embedding Sustainability In Your Culture

Sally Cornelius, BASIS Executive Board member and co-founder of The Happy Ocean Company, writes about embedding a sustainable culture. Sally helps organisations understand stakeholder perceptions of their sustainability strategy and assists them with embedding their polices and driving about change.

The increasing global awareness of the climate crisis has inevitably put the spotlight on how we are all living, prompting more and more organisations to question how sustainable their operations are and how they can be improved so as to reduce environmental harm.

At BASIS, we are often asked for support from our community on how to write a sustainability strategy: what to include; what frameworks to use. Getting the right framework and setting the relevant targets for each organisation is undoubtedly a fundamental process, but one that can only be ultimately effective if it is properly and consistently implemented in the long term. In other words, in order for a sustainability strategy to be truly, well, sustainable, it needs to wholly embedded into an organisation’s DNA.

And the earlier this process of integration begins, the better. Engaging stakeholders from the outset – in the early stages of planning – is highly beneficial. Having channels for open dialogue right from the start can not only help inform your own sustainability strategies, but it also encourages a level of involvement and ‘buy-in’ across the relevant parties. This sense of feeling invested then translates into stronger long-term thinking and ultimately better outcomes.

Conducting research across a range of stakeholders (via surveys, interviews, etc) is a crucial part of understanding current perceptions of your organisation in terms of its performance on sustainability, including its strengths and weaknesses. For a sports club, key stakeholders include both members of staff from across the organisation and external contacts, such as suppliers, sponsors, shareholders, the media and fans/visitors. Initial exploration will provide invaluable information for benchmarking your performance and ongoing research will let you assess the impact of initiatives on stakeholder perceptions – all fundamental to sustainability reputation management.

Gaining a 360-view from across your stakeholder groups will shine a light on the potential barriers, logistical or attitudinal, that could hamper your sustainability efforts – but will also provide insight into how these barriers can be overcome. A full analysis like this will bring workable operational and PR actions which, combined with exercises such motivational workshops and regular communications output, generate an understanding of why these actions and processes are needed, and how far-reaching the benefits will be.

Recent research as part of our #buildbackbetter consultation highlighted how, while some organisations are now implementing a range of initiatives and actions, sustainability issues are still not often a regular feature of Board-level discussions. Too frequently, sustainability strategies become siloed and are not seen as an integral facet of all operations and departments. But realising the potential of your organisation to fully engage with all your stakeholders on this topic, and understanding how great your sphere of influence can be, is a game-changing process, and one that means sustainability can become truly embedded across all your operations.

Share:
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on facebook

Subscribe for updates

If you want the latest BASIS news and updates sent directly to your inbox, leave your email address here.

Associate Membership

Associate BASIS members must join through their Umbrella organisation. You can check to see if your umbrella is a member by using our Members page and then enquire directly with them about membership. If you’re not sure or need help, feel free to contact us.

Sponsor BASIS

Tell us about your organisation and how we might work together.

By submitting this form, you agree you have read and agree to our privacy policy, and that you will be added to the BASIS Newsletter mailing list. You can opt-out later if you wish.

Partner with BASIS

Tell us about your organisation and how we might work together.

By submitting this form, you agree you have read and agree to our privacy policy, and that you will be added to the BASIS Newsletter mailing list. You can opt-out later if you wish.

Join BASIS

Complete the form below to start your BASIS membership journey.

By submitting this form, you agree you have read and agree to our privacy policy, and that you will be added to the BASIS Newsletter mailing list. You can opt-out later if you wish.

Join BASIS

Complete the form below to start your BASIS membership journey.

By submitting this form, you agree you have read and agree to our privacy policy, and that you will be added to the BASIS Newsletter mailing list. You can opt-out later if you wish.

Join BASIS

Complete the form below to start your BASIS membership journey.

By submitting this form, you agree you have read and agree to our privacy policy, and that you will be added to the BASIS Newsletter mailing list. You can opt-out later if you wish.

Become an affiliate

Great news, you can become a BASIS affiliate right now. Just fill in the form below.

By submitting this form, you agree you have read and agree to our privacy policy, and that you will be added to the BASIS Newsletter mailing list. You can opt-out later if you wish.