Accelerate 2013 - Breakout Panel C: Culture and Collaboration: The Importance of Embedding Sustainability into Organizational Culture

Barb Steele facilitated this panel discussion of organizational culture and collaboration. Bob Masterson began with lessons from the chemical industry and the creation of the Responsible Care program, based on the realization that they needed to collaborate in order to succeed in rebuilding public trust. They needed the culture of the industry to shift from seeing sustainability as a cost, priority and individual responsibility, to sustainability as an investment, a value, and necessarily collaborative. Elaine Hanson spoke about Sheridan College being as complex as a small municipality, and that sustainability is largely about building networks. She commented that “mission to zero” motivates culture change, and used an analogy of the variations found in classical music being similar to the variations we can play with in sustainability work. Guy McGuffin then talked about the challenges of recycling packaging in the retail industry, and the collaboration needed to change the market. From the Sense & Sustainability survey he created, he learned that sustainability helps organizations to achieve goals, and can also serve as an engagement strategy. Due to the resulting collaboration it is anticipated that 100 million pounds of packaging will be recycled. Reza Nasseri shared about the Landmark Group of Builders’ lessons in collaboration between builders and homeowners in the creation of a net zero home, and the goal of being a change agent in the housing industry. The audience then posed questions to the group which brought out the points of making sure that: sustainability is embedded into the organization so that when there’s turnover the mandate is still there; there are clear and specific goals that are aligned and drive change through business value; and there’s leadership that also flows into facilities and the community.