The latest annual report on sustainability produced by the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) shows a marked decline in confidence to manage and implement sustainability, CSR and environmental policies.
The ninth annual report showed a decline in confidence of 20% over consecutive years and has highlighted that firms find it ‘difficult’ to meet the implementation and management criteria needed to effectively embrace sustainability. The percentage of companies that rated themselves ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ at implementing sustainability dropped from 60% last year to 40% in this report. Though the 60% figure was well up on 2013’s figure of 43%, this year still shows a decline.
The CEO of BIFM, Gareth Tancred, said: “Despite increased pressure on businesses to be more sustainable, we are actually seeing a decline in their ability to do so. What is clear from our findings is that organisations need to re-think their approach to sustainability in the face of increasing barriers. In nine years of conducting this survey, 2015 has seen the biggest year-on-year decrease recorded and historically, sustainability has been dominated by a tick-box mentality by business which is undermining the long-term value of sustainability investment”.
At the same time as this decline was recorded, businesses reported increased difficulties in meeting sustainable targets. These blocks to implementation were primarily physical with financial and organisational coming in second and third. It was also reported that there was a lack of formal reporting systems and data collection and analysis (over 35% of respondents). When companies do not collect, analyse and review data adequately, or at all, that makes it very difficult to measure the effectiveness of the policies and show the benefits of sustainability. If that cannot be done then it is very hard for the leadership to encourage adoption of sustainable policies.
That this is evident is shown in the report which stated that “over 70% of CEOs and senior management possess a high degree of confidence in their sustainability knowledge [however] at lower levels of the organisations this confidence level drops, exemplified by only 50% claiming they are confident that they have the knowledge they need on sustainability”.
This decline in the importance of sustainability at senior management level is reflected in a weakening of the leaderships message to middle and lower management where the implementation takes place.
The benefits in the business case for long term sustainable activities are then difficult to see.
The reports concludes that there are three key areas where FMs can focus their efforts to begin to address this challenge;
- Making the business case for sustainability
The full report may be found at BIFM.
Sustainability In Facilities Management Report 2015