Talk:Getting your organisation involved

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Getting started: Planning the project and engaging the rest of the organisation:

Given the competing demands on people’s time and budgets and the global scale of the issue, there’s a risk of this seeming either overwhelming or irrelevant, especially if there’s no regulatory deadline to drive it. It’s helpful to look at other recent transformations supported by Tech teams to see how they’ve succeeded. There are parallels in the piloting approach often taken to introducing digital services.

Here are some suggested steps:

  • Find out what non-Tech “green” initiatives are already in place in the organisation. Ensure the Tech plans are strengthened by these rather than competing with them and use any existing network of people interested in green issues. Many Facilities management teams are already working on carbon reduction.
  • Share ideas and best practice with other organisations. You may be able to share resources, too, with co-located or local partners – eg pooled printers, expertise in repairs.
  • Find advocates in the Tech team and across the organisation and engage an influential top level sponsor. Getting sponsorship to unblock bottlenecks and lead from the front makes a huge difference. An explicit policy of carbon reduction strengthens the case for action.
  • Identify a minimal number of initial changes. Measure the footprint before starting, pilot, and measure again. Calculating the carbon footprint without expert help may not be easy and may seem irrelevant, so pick a more accessible measure instead: electricity consumed; the average life of a device; data bundle consumption; etc. Engage your suppliers to see how they can help. If they’re uncooperative, and won’t respond to a joint approach or recognise the value to their reputation, consider changing supplier.
  • Having assessed impact from a pilot, scale up the most successful ones. Don’t be afraid to shelve ideas which looked promising but had limited impact or were too difficult to implement.
  • Monitor the successes – and challenges – of the scale-up. Learn from this, adjust it if necessary. Then choose your next target.
  • Build targets on environmental impact into all the organisation’s new projects.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has started its journey by taking these steps, drawing on action points suggested by the Digital Leaders session:

  • Writing an objective into job descriptions: “The RIBA is committed to supporting worldwide decarbonisation efforts, and our Technology Directorate’s role is to facilitate and drive efforts to minimise the RIBA’s carbon impact through all of our technology services and initiatives”.
  • Holding a departmental meeting to translate this into practical action, with small groups to allow frank discussion about barriers: not knowing enough, not having enough time. Staff are in the process of choosing one SMART objective that they will report back on in their 1:1s this year.
  • The organisation has concluded that to make a real impact on their carbon footprint, they need to partner with an organisation to measure and reduce it. The Technology team has successfully made a case to be included in that process.
  • Their objective is to include carbon footprint in business KPIs and report on it alongside other regular reporting.