Yesterday, we had a cozy fireside chat with Christine Uri, Chief Legal Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer at ENGIE Impact. We discussed what sustainability is, why it matters, and the first steps legal can take to build a long-lasting partnership. Here’s what you need to know.
1. It’s Not Just One Thing
Let’s get back to the basics. Put simply, sustainability is about having a process that can repeat over time without dying out. Taken into the corporate framework, there’s environmental sustainability, social sustainability (think diversity, equity, and inclusion), and governance (such as ethical business practices).
2. Learn What’s In Place
The first step in getting more engaged with sustainability starts with a simple web search. No, really! Learn what exists at your company. Do you have a website or blog post relating to it? Do you have a team involved in it? Next up…figure out who’s interested. Speak cross-departmentally and find allies who will help drive the initiative further.
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3. Focus On The Value-Add
You have to figure out what the value proposition is for the business as a whole and for each role within the organization. Are there cost savings that could arise from a sustainability program? Speak to HR, sales, marketing, and ops to understand where it could help them. Voice it to senior executives, and use the language of your colleagues to portray the value-add.
4. Use Your Reach
The partnership between legal and sustainability is not exactly obvious. The strategic role that legal plays across the business as a whole makes it a key candidate to pursue initiatives like these. Since both ethics and compliance are already under the legal umbrella, leaning into those practices, and taking them a step further across the environmental, and even social spectrum can forge a lasting relationship.
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5. It Takes Time
You need to start from somewhere! It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sustainability initiatives at large multinational corporations and feel like you need to do everything overnight. None of these issues are going anywhere. Start building it piece-by-piece. If you give 10 minutes a day to something, you will be shocked at what you can get done in a year.