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The Integrated Sustainability Model

2016-04-25 11:00:00 +0100 by Paul Gosling

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The ‘integrated sustainability’ model has been growing in momentum for some years and the recent reorganisation of Kingfisher Group’s sustainability team, has prompted me to reflect on the challenges and benefits this model creates. 

The ultimate goal is to embed sustainability into every process and system.  Which means that CSR or sustainability departments, become a thing of the past. 

With the departure of two very well-known and respected sustainability professionals; Richard Gillies and Dax Lovegrove, a spokesperson for Kingfisher told edie: “We are moving to a model where we are embedding accountability for sustainability delivery into the heart of our business, by getting functional and operational business owners to take responsibility for it.”

On the face of it, this is a success story in terms of sustainability being a key element of the business objectives. Most sustainability professionals will tell you that a key part of their role is to integrate sustainability practice into their organisation’s activities.

However, for me this model still raises some concerns.  My view is that sustainability needs C-Level representation and that key expertise will be lost and the sustainability measures diluted.

Yes, this model has of course got a future and done well it can be a sign of a company’s positive journey into true transparent sustainability.  

However, I believe it also requires strong co-ordination and leadership and we must be wary of it being used as a fig leaf for organisations who are less convinced by the positive value sustainability can bring to the table.

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