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Aligning the Corporate Culture with Sustainability Strategy

Article submitted by Change Horizon – TIACA Start-up Member

Written by: Justina Messeiller, Change Horizon

As the world’s eyes were on the UNFCCC COP26 discussions in Glasgow the last couple of weeks, the climate negotiations offered a powerful momentum for companies to build on and become truly sustainable. Based on the results of the first TIACA Air Cargo Sustainability Survey, run in late 2020, 81% of air cargo professionals agree that sustainability is a real strategic priority for their companies.

While we believe that a strong sustainability strategy is critical to a successful transition to long-term business sustainability, a company needs culture conducive to its execution:

Culture is like the wind.
It is invisible, yet its effect can be seen and felt.
When it is blowing in your direction, it makes for smooth sailing.
When it is blowing against you, everything is more difficult.

– Simon Sinek, author and inspirational speaker

Sustainable business culture ensures that each brand touchpoint has a sustainability aspect, and each action of any employee no matter their function or rank is guided by sustainability principles. In other words, sustainability is an integral part of the company’s DNA.

4 elements of a successful sustainable corporate culture

1. Corporate value

When sustainability is well articulated as a core value of a company, it cannot be treated as an obligation or an added expense with no concrete benefit. This core value needs to be well communicated across the whole organization and embedded in operating procedures so that each employee is fully aligned on its importance and ready to exercise it through daily practices.

2. Audibility and visibility

The symbols of sustainability embedded in the branding elements of a company can create the feeling of solidarity and belonging. The key slogans, workspace set up, team behaviors all contribute to building a distinctive and inspiring sustainability culture identity. Employees who endorse the new way of doing business internally go on to become the premier ambassadors of the sustainability culture when facing external customers.

3. Continuous learning

Employee training and upskilling are essential to getting people up to speed and filling any knowledge gaps on an individual basis. While comprehensive development plans for teams and departments can help improve sustainability capacity on a higher level. Learning opportunities could be offered via online training sessions, interactive workshops as well as on-the-job learning.

4. Accountability

Integrating sustainability in the business goals and adding them to the performance review process can help to keep the sustainable practices on the radar and be taken seriously. Walking the talk and empowering sustainable behaviors which are embedded in the values, culture code and company vision as well as measuring and rewarding positive sustainability actions among employees are a sure way to help enable the switch to sustainable corporate culture.

At Change Horizon, we support the air cargo companies in their sustainable transformation from start to finish. Feeling ready to start or accelerate your sustainability journey but not sure how? Let’s meet and discuss.