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Driving sustainability initiatives through collaboration

The news around climate change these days is bleak - from beloved Attenborough warning us it’s too late and even the Queen weighing in on corporate inaction, it’s easy to feel like there’s no point in changing individual and collective perspectives or actions.

But whilst the world has already heated up by 1.2C, it’s still the right time to start thinking about what we can do in our companies and in the corporate world about improving sustainability practices.

At the heart of all great sustainability initiatives is powerful collaboration - but why does it matter and how does it help? Take a look at how collaborative action can drive sustainable actions across the globe.

Collaboration: why does it matter?

Collaboration's power manifests in a multitude of ways, including:

  • Setting up a safe space to share problems and build solutions
  • Realising a greater impact with collective action
  • Boosting a company's reputation and badge value
  • Providing more administrative or technical support
  • Making stakeholders feel more engaged
  • Gaining external brand advocates and loyal followers

Quite simply: collaboration creates more impact by spurring others to action and building relationships that are grounded in shared goals.

But what does collaboration have to do with sustainability?

Let's break down the main pillars of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental. Everything is interconnected. When the circle is balanced, we can achieve better sustainable action.

Social: guaranteeing equity and inclusion, establishing social services and programs, preserving culture, engaging community action, ensuring accountability from leaders, etc.

Economic: providing jobs, ensuring prosperity, supporting the production of food and goods, creating generational wealth, etc.

Environmental: preserving biodiversity and ecosystems, ensuring stable resources, recycling initiatives, maintaining a low carbon footprint and renewable resources, etc.

To balance those factors, companies need to pool their strengths to achieve real, sustainable action. No action begins without true collaboration - any direct order in corporate culture is only done out of necessity without any real heart or enthusiasm. Sustainability that affects us all individually as well as our future, and therefore is an issue only solved through joint efforts.

Finding perfect collaborative partnerships

Play to your strengths to make a collaborative partnership or initiative work well. The best collaborations combine strategy resources with strong relationships.

Proactive & Strategic Resource Investments

Don't look at your team's strengths from a general lens. Instead, get granular. Ask team members, management, and anyone who works within your organisation: "how can our strengths make a direct sustainable impact?"

For example, larger organisations might be able to handle more forms of collaboration with an "all hands on deck" approach. Develop one partnership to raise awareness and education, then form another to design a tactical, hands-on solution.

Overcome competitive hurdles to reach common goals

Systemic sustainable problems require the power of community over competition. Strategically pool your organisation's resources with your competitors'. There's power in numbers when tackling an issue that's bigger than us.

Adidas' Vice President of Brand Strategy, James Carnes, knows it well. He says, "We're competing in the same race against time, the thing that's sitting between us and a better future."

Crucially - work together to drive sustainable action plans

Partnerships between companies might seem daunting, but with the right tools collaboration becomes less of a buzzword and more of a foundation.

Looking for inspiration on how to get started driving sustainability initiatives as a corporate or academic activist? Join our free, virtual panel where we'll be speaking with groundbreaking professionals on their real world experiences - register now to attend or receive the recording >>

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