May 20, 2024

Internal Engagement: Data is Power, But Storytelling is QUEEN

May 20, 2024

Internal Engagement: Data is Power, But Storytelling is QUEEN

May 20, 2024

Internal Engagement: Data is Power, But Storytelling is QUEEN

May 2024

Internal Engagement: Data is Power, But Storytelling is QUEEN

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At our recent State of Sustainability mixer, we brought together 50+ (legendary) female sustainability professionals to discuss driving internal engagement.

The room concluded that at least 40% of their time is dedicated to aligning stakeholders within their business. And we’re not surprised… communicating sustainability progress within your organisation can be daunting and time consuming, especially when you’re navigating stakeholders across global audiences and different demographics. Here are our takeaways for overcoming these challenges:

  • Data is power, but storytelling is queen: Data is crucial, but it shouldn't overshadow the power of narratives. Compelling stories resonate with audiences, leaving a lasting impression. Use data to evidence your stories, not replace them.
  • Craft stories that can travel: Keep your stories simple, relevant, and jargon-free. The best kind of narratives are those that can travel through word of mouth.
  • Win hearts, minds, and hands: Tap into your colleagues' passion for sustainability – they're your biggest cheerleaders. Take the time to understand their motivations and empower them to champion your efforts. Don't be afraid to share your own sustainability story – it can be a powerful connection point.

Camilla Riddiford’s, Head of Sustainability at Arla UK, family farm after it was hit by Cyclone Gabrielle in 2022. “While my colleagues might forget the statistics, they still talk about "Camilla's parents' farm.”” - Camilla

  • Speak their language: Tailor your message to resonate with different stakeholder priorities. What excites the board might not connect with procurement. Consider these engagement tactics:

- Immersive experiences: Like bringing board members on farm visits to witness the tangible impact of sustainability practices.

- Cheat sheets: Create clear, concise summaries of goals and progress points that resonate with specific audiences and can be used in their conversations.

  • Involve stakeholders from the start: Including stakeholders from the beginning fosters a sense of ownership and leverages their valuable perspectives.
  • Celebrate the wins: Acknowledge and celebrate successes, both big and small. Milestones keep motivation high. Sustainability is often a great source of pride - let your employees know they're making a difference.
  • Think outside the box: Don't be afraid to experiment. Try unconventional methods to spark engagement. For example, consider a reverse mentorship program where young team members educate the CEO on sustainability issues.

Whilst the complexities can leave you frustrated, speechless or unheard…unlocking internal engagement can be transformative in scaling your sustainability efforts. Let us know if any other tactics have worked for you!

By Isobel Wild, Content Lead at Altruistiq

Industry Insight: Why Sustainability Teams Struggle to Align Stakeholders Behind Their Data

Few sustainability teams effectively align their stakeholders behind their data. And, in all honesty, it’s just as easy to get wrong as it is to get right. The playbook that I see working is to:

Create alignment around the purpose of your data. Forget about chasing 100% data accuracy (you’re not getting there anytime soon - trust me). Focus instead on the business problem that you want to solve with better data. If you start here and work backwards, you'll be able to create data infrastructure that you can refine and improve to deliver better business value.

Create alignment around the steps to getting that data. Get people on board early and explain what is needed of them and when. This will help when you go back time and time again asking for that refreshed supplier or facilities data.

Create alignment on what your data is and is not. Be upfront to the fact it’s not 100% accurate and, instead, outline a clear roadmap of how you’re going to improve this %. If you keep everyone bought in on the journey, the small data accuracy wins will be just that little bit sweeter.

Policy Pulse: A ~ 200 Word Recap On FLAG

A ~200 word summary of FLAG and its implications:

  1. FLAG stands for ‘Forest, Land, and Agriculture’.
  2. FLAG is a standard governing the emissions accounting for impacted companies.
  3. Impacted companies are any companies with a substantial share of FLAG based materials in the value chain (e.g., Food, Apparel, Personal Care).
  4. If you’re in these sectors and:
  • Setting an SBTi target, FLAG guidance is available and you’re expected to align with it.
  • Not interested in an SBTi target, you have a bit of a breather. But GHG-Protocol Guidance is coming soon, so if you want to stay GHG-Protocol compliant you’ll need to align with it.

5. The new standard governs how you account for:

  • Land Use Change (e.g., did stuff you’re buying come from land that used to be forested);
  • Land Management (e.g., how is the farm you’re buying from tilled);
  • Land based removals (e.g., is a supplier sequestering carbon on their land).

6. To account for the above, you’re going to need to move from ‘spend-based’ Scope 3 to capturing weights and activities (i.e., you’ll need to know your supply chain a lot better). This means:

  • Downside: The new standard is much harder than what you’re used to (sorry, we won’t lie to you).
  • Upside: The new standard provides you with the foundations to move into ‘in-value chain’ reductions and removals, which may be cheaper and provide your company with better value than offsets.

Other News

  • 💰Consumers are willing to pay more for sustainability, despite the cost of living hike (edie). A new survey by PWC (released May 16th 2024), encompassing more than 20,000 consumers across 31 countries, reported that 4/5 (80%) of consumers are willing to pay a premium for sustainably produced or sourced goods. On average, consumers indicate a willingness to spend 9.7% more on goods that meet specific environmental criteria, such as being locally sourced, made from recycled materials, or having a lower carbon footprint in their production process.
  • 🔋Busy week for Biden. US energy panel approves rule to expand transmission of renewable energy (The Associated Press), scales back coal leasing and finalises boiler emission regulations. Federal energy regulators on Monday approved a long-awaited rule to make it easier to transmit renewable energy such as wind and solar power to the electric grid. The New York Times says the rule marks “the biggest changes in more than a decade to the way US power lines are planned and funded” and “could boost wind and solar power”. This coincides with a proposal from the Biden administration to end new coal leasing from federal land in the Powder River Basin area of Wyoming and Montana (The Associated Press). Biden has also finalised energy-efficiency standards for a range of residential water heaters (Energy.Gov) - What. A. Week.
  • 🚜 Climate-smart farm grants take hold (E&E News). As many as 20,000 farms may be participating in the Biden administration’s climate-smart agriculture grants by the end of this year. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) set aside more than $3bn to give to farmers who practice “climate-smart” agriculture.
  • 🪨 Coal no longer accounts for the majority of India’s energy capacity in major landmark for renewables (The Independent). This marks a pivotal moment as coal’s share of the total power capacity dropped below 50 per cent for the first time since the 1960s.

Recommended Resources:

  • The Biggest Trends to Watch in F&B Sustainability (Podcast)
  • The Do’s and Don’ts of Insetting (Interview)
  • Companies count the cost of compliance with green regulation (FT): The reality of EUDR, CSRD, CSDDD and CBAM.
  • Can Beef be Carbon Neutral? BBC Sounds

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