New professions are emerging and existing roles are being transformed as more organisations recognise the need to incorporate sustainability into all facets of their operations. This process of sustainable transformation in the workplace raises many questions about what current and emerging professions will look like. What new skills will they require? What new knowledge? What are the urgent issues, profession by profession, department by department?
To explore these questions – and draw inspiration from others already leading the way – we recently commissioned a white paper, in partnership with LittleBig Connection, a marketplace that connects large companies with a community of 400,000 digital and sustainable transformation experts, to lay out a primary review of current practices. In this two-part blog series, we will explore first some of the new roles that have emerged to support sustainable transformation before diving into the ways that existing roles can be reimagined and retooled to help organisations succeed at decarbonisation.
Let’s take an initial look at three of our outstanding interviewees who offer insight on how roles have adapted over time. You can download our whitepaper ici. to access the interviews in full and read accounts from the nine other professionals we spoke to.
Embarking on ambitious sustainable transformation
When Stéphane Belot joined Electro Depot, the role of Director of Solidarity and Ecological Transition did not exist.
Instead, Belot started as the Purchasing Director before becoming Brand Director. From there, he created his current role, which he sums up as “lighting a spark and keeping the flame alive.” To Belot, this means getting the whole company moving in order to change the whole business model—and then evaluating quantitative indicators and clearly defining transitional projects so that the impetus doesn’t stall.
“We are going through a change that is at least as powerful as the digitalisation of companies. Digitisation has impacted everything, not just the website but all jobs. I think that the ecological transition will produce the same effects.”
Belot believes that everyone from shareholders to the CEO and board of directors, and all the teams within an organisation, must be onboard and that governance bodies must be involved in the process from the start. Without this level of buy-in, organisations risk greenwashing or seeing their efforts fizzle out altogether.
Explore, analyse, share, demonstrate, and always be ready to start over
For Marie Garnier, Director, Quality and Sustainable Development at Métro, embarking on ambitious sustainable transformation starts with listing everything that has already been done in order to demonstrate that your organisation is already on the path. Typically, this will require involving all the different teams in order to co-produce detailed roadmaps that can be communicated, followed and whose results will be shared. Once this planning is complete, creating agile, autonomous groups will enable the organisation to achieve more together than any single person.
Garnier recognises achieving this level of commitment, coordination, and collaboration is not always simple. “Life in a company is not a long, tranquil river, and all jobs have thousands of priorities, nothing can be taken for granted,” she says. “So, it’s necessary to stay in touch, meet the new teams, and connect to new projects so that the CSR dimension is always well integrated.”
True sustainable transformation must be considered a priority
As the Lead Sustainability and decarbonisation projects incubator at the Business Development Bank of Canada, Pierre-Olivier Brodeur leads a team of a dozen professionals from different backgrounds to develop financial products (loans) and non-financial (consulting services, information sites) that help SMEs reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. His role also requires him to formulate and develop a strategy for the launch and evolution of products, to support and coach the team members and to provide them with the means and conditions necessary for the success of their mission.
“The focus today is too much on commitments and not enough on action.”
Brodeur believes that true transformation cannot succeed if it’s treated as just another project; it must be the priority. This means allocating adequate financial resources, freeing up time so that employees can focus on this transition, and clearly communicating the strategic importance of what you’re in the process of accomplishing.
Since this type of transformation is both very exciting and very demanding for the employees, Brodeur believes that it is essential for leaders to manage it with goodwill.
Kickstart your sustainable transformation
For more inspiration and examples of sustainable transformation in the workplace, download the full version of the whitepaper ici.. And if you’re ready to retool and upskill your own workforce to support your decarbonisation goals, check out the resources we’ve created to educate and empower your employees to take environmentally sustainable action in their own role.