Getting Internal Buy-in for Sustainability Initiatives
By Lora Mays, Product Marketing Manager
Companies around the world are focused on becoming greener, supporting the growing need to improve how we are using our resources. Buildings today, for instance, already consume 40 percent of the world’s electricity – a number that will only increase as our facility infrastructure ages and our use of these buildings increases.
Today’s facility management teams have an opportunity to drive sustainability initiatives to ensure that the energy that is consumed is being used in the most effective manner. These sustainability initiatives may include:
- Building automation systems and sensors to drive decisions around cutting energy based on occupant use
- Analyses of building use and occupancy levels to determine peak hours and subsequent electricity levels
- Energy use chargebacks to departments within the organization to create a sustainable mindset across the board
However, putting sustainability initiatives in place requires manpower and beyond that, can be costly. With more organizations focused on how they can cut costs, it can be challenging to get buy-in that these initiatives need to be top priorities for organizations.
To get internal buy-in for sustainability initiatives, answer five questions for your management team:
1. What is the benefit of the sustainability project?
It’ll “cut costs” and “improve efficiency,” unfortunately, are not strong enough reasons for why a particular project should be implemented. Those are great benefits of why the project should be moved forward, but to create a strong business case, consider other elements. Will the sustainability project help improve revenues? Does it help drive a culture improvement? Does it require little work with big returns?
2. What does it require the organization to invest?
Understanding how much time and money must be invested for the sustainability initiative is a good start. However, it’s also important to think about where these resources are coming from. Does it mean that there will be one less technician responding to reactive maintenance issues, as they will focus primarily on this initiative? If that’s the case, how will you fill the gaps?
Know where the project fits into the current landscape of the organizatio. Outlining how it won’t negatively impact the team's success serves as an important component of gaining internal buy-in for the initiative.
3. How does this support our organization’s mission and future goals?
It’s easier to get buy-in for a large-scale project when it links directly back to the overarching goals of the organization. For example, if your organization has a goal to expand globally, demonstrate how the sustainability initiative will help your company serve the local economy and environment better, poising it for success when it expands to new locations.
4. Why is this a top priority?
Understanding why your organization needs to focus on sustainability now can drastically improve your ability to garner internal buy-in. If your organization implements a building automation system, detail what benefits you will see in the near term, as well as further down the line. In addition, think about why it’s important that your organization does it sooner rather than later. Will it impact the company’s bottom line? Does it help improve the life of your assets?
5. When will you see results?
Of course, results are always an important aspect when you are focused on winning internal buy-in. In addition to detailing what type of results the organization can experience, indicate when these results will be felt by the company. Think beyond quantitative results; as mentioned in the first question, consider how it will improve the organizational culture. Will it help drive a positive reputation within your target market? These are also important to outline, even if they don’t impact any specific numbers.
Interested in learning more about how your facility management team can drive strategic success for your organization? Download our free whitepaper to learn how they can contribute to sustainability and other key factors for today’s organizations.