New guides show how to talk to different institutional departments about sustainability

1st October 2018

We know that all too often, sustainability sits in a Facilities and Estates silo on campuses and it can be hard to engage with other departments in UK Further and Higher Education institutions. We also know that for sustainability to flourish, it needs to be embedded holistically and everyone needs to understand what it is, why it is essential for a successful institution, and what role they play.

With this in mind, EAUC Scotland conducted research in collaboration with colleagues from various departments to understand the barriers and successes of creating connections between sustainability and different professional departments.

They identified five key departments that have an influential role within an institution when it comes to tackling climate change, creating sustainability and engaging staff and students on these matters.

They then produced a guide for each department that includes an overview of the professional department and how it can collaborate with the sustainability team, embedding sustainability at a departmental and institutional level.  Each guide can be used by either sustainability professionals or the departments to better understand the benefits of actively participating with your institutions sustainability work.

Which departments did they identify as key, and why?

Catering Department
Catering teams have the opportunity to contribute to creation of a healthy campus community through working with professional staff, academics, students, and the wider local community on sustainable catering issues. Read the guide.

Finance Department
Finance teams are linked to all departments at your institution, as it is common for budgets and expenses to go through the Finance Department for approval. Working closely with Finance teams can open up links to other departments, and can potentially spread sustainability further in areas of your institution that have traditionally been challenging to engage due to the wide mandate and reach of the Finance team. Read the guide.

HR Department
Many sustainability teams recognise the value in engaging with Human Resources teams, with common values and areas of activity such as supporting staff and student wellbeing. A strong culture for sustainability at your institution can be introduced to new employees through HR practices such as onboarding. There is also an important opportunity to formalise responsibility for sustainability through its inclusion in job descriptions or other methods. Read the guide.

IT Department
Emissions from IT in the UK are double the global average, with a move towards sustainable IT use and more efficient technologies having potential for major carbon savings. IT teams prioritise user experience and costs, but IT equipment and how it is used can have both positive and negative impacts on the environment and society. It is crucial for sustainability teams engage with the IT department to ensure your institution has a net positive impact by altering decision-making around both purchasing and using IT equipment on campus. Read the guide.

Marketing Department
Marketing teams are the closest people to your institution’s stakeholders and have the best idea of what stories and communication methods matter to them. It’s great for an institution to have ambitious sustainability goals, but without effective marketing through mainstream channels staff and students can be left unaware of your sustainability initiatives and progress. When behaviour change is an important aspect of your sustainability strategy, collaborating with your marketing or communications team will be vitally important. Read the guide.

If you are based in Scotland and are looking for further support with engaging any of these professional departments such as training, facilitated meetings or workshops then get in touch with the EAUC-Scotland Team.
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