BIFM's Blog

The latest blogs from BIFM, and from guest bloggers, and all things facilities and beyond.

The growth of the sustainability agenda and the role of FM. By Chris Moriarty, BIFM

02-04-15, 15:35

Sustainability. Visit any business conference and at some point I'm sure that someone, somewhere, will say the word. If they don't then it will be referred to in some other way whether it is CSR, green or simply environmental. Unfortunately too often it is wrapped up in buzz words and usually driven by corporate image or legislative necessity; as our Annual Sustainability Survey found last year.

Recently I've been thinking that the word to best describe this agenda is probably prudence (acting with or showing care and thought for the future). It's essentially what we're talking about here. Be responsible, not reckless. Think long term, not short term. The concept of the triple bottom line also does a good job at putting it in perspective, using the three p's (profit, people and planet). At a recent talk someone used the idea of sales in with this. He said that we are driven to create profit (recognising that there are charities, NFPs etc.), but to do that we need people to sell to and a planet to sell on. Simple but it helps us understand that if you neglect any one of the three p's then you're going to be in trouble, eventually.

People, Profit, Planet

There are some organisations leading the way; Unilever, Sky and M&S (to name but a few) are doing some really forward thinking things, but they're not the only ones. All types of organisations are looking at how responsible they are and how they impact their environment and by that I don't simply mean the green stuff. What about the community of people that you get your talent from? The suppliers that you purchase from? If you rely on highly skilled staff what are you doing about educating the talent of the future?

In facilities we have been close to the sustainability agenda for some time but, for obvious reasons, that has revolved around the physical environment; energy consumption, waste management and so on.† That said, with some of the points made above, there is a massive role to play in the more people orientated elements of the sustainability agenda. How we work with suppliers, Living Wage and social mobility are just some examples.

Due to this increasing internal and external scrutiny of sustainability progress, FM professionals now need to be able to engage both their internal and external clients with confidence and credibility on the whole sustainability agenda.

Our Annual Sustainability survey aims to learn more about how the sustainability agenda is evolving and impacting you in your role and your organisation. It is work such as this that helps us both support the profession with best practice as well as develop policy so that we can champion the work that we as a profession do.

Whether you are and FM supplier (in-house or contract), FM buyer or any part of the FM supply chain we are interested in your perspective on the Sustainability agenda.†† The 2015 BIFM Sustainability survey is now live.

Click here to check out the survey.

By Chris Moriarty, Head of Insight and Corporate Affairs at BIFM

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