The biggest challenge for me in trying to drive sustainability focused action throughout my organisation is an internal one. Coming from outside the field – I undertook the course as I have a broad interest in sustainability, rather than being a seasoned practitioner – I sometimes feel as though I’m treading on the feet of the sustainability team and other interested stakeholders. This view has not been borne out by my interactions with them, in fact, they having been nothing but positive and welcoming of my work, however there’s a big mental leap in being interesting in something and undertaking a course compared to making real changes that will cost the organisation money (at the least in people’s time).
It’s actually drawn me full circle and I’ve been asking myself existential questions for the past couple of weeks. One ask from our Director General for my work was to prioritise a few of the SDGs to focus on and I have done with our Chief of Staff and Chief Regulatory Officer. We are now down to five. However, some of our initiatives do positively impact other SDGs, so I’m now questioning this approach. How are we going to differentiate the SDGs we have prioritised compared to those we haven’t? We are going to continue the work on the latter so does that mean they don’t get as much exposure? That doesn’t seem fair. For the prioritised SDGs, I do feel we can do a little more in those areas and certainly we can look at measuring our contribution to the associated indicators where relevant.
I’m now at the stage where I need to meet with the CFO about this prioritisation and the additional focus and activities we may need to commence, and my second guessing is not putting me in the right frame of mind for this interaction. I’m toying whether I bring these questions up with her – but does that mean she’ll be thinking why is this person wasting my time if she’s not even bought in to what we’re discussing?! Ughh. I feel like I need more thinking time and even going back to basics as to the what, why, how etc of what I’m doing. I’m not sure if this is some lack of confidence based on my aforementioned position of being relatively new to sustainability or whether these questions are actually suitable ones to be asking at this stage before the organisation (and myself) make any real investment going forward. Lots to think about ahead of the meeting with our CFO.
In terms of growth, this work has really challenged me as it’s involved getting to grips with a new area – detail of the SDGs and our industry’s contribution to them – and also working with new executives and teams within the organisation. The latter particularly, as it’s been in an area that’s not my speciality, so as per the above I don’t necessarily have the confidence I display in my day job. However, everyone has been very supportive (here’s that mental circle again!).
I’m sure this will sort itself out, but for now I’m in a something of a ‘stewing mode’ as I ensure that what I’m trying to do in the organisation really is worthwhile with tangible benefits. Having said that, discussing these things always helps so I think I will go ahead and set up the meeting with our CFO!