Thriving through to 2022

2 Dec 2021
SOURCE:
Robert Perry, Manager, Sustainable Leadership, Sustainable Business Council

To quote Alice Cooper, “School's out for Summer”…well, almost! 2021 has been a year like no other, and in setting up SBC’s Thriving People programme, I’ve been in awe of the care and dedication of SBC members in putting people first.

It’s said that “you can’t move forward until you look back”, so here are my top five highlights from the programme, and a taste of what 2022 has in store.

1. Moving Beyond Diversity initiative

We recently completed our Moving Beyond Diversity (MBD) initiative, leading a group of members via a human-centred design process to deliver scalable member-led innovations to advance inclusion and belonging in the workplace. Experiments focused on inclusive recruitment, inclusive leadership, and recognizing/valuing diversity of thought. We also created an online knowledge sharing platform for participants which they are now looking to continue.

One of the most powerful insights I learned as part of this work was from Martin La’a at Spark. Marty described ‘Diversity’ is a fact - it’s being invited to the party. Inclusion is a ‘choice’ – it’s being asked to dance, while ‘belonging’ is a ‘feeling’ such as being free to ask anyone you want to dance with you.

2. Putting people at the heart of climate action

MBD (blogs need acronyms like a ‘fish needs a bicycle’, says Bono… more or less) was our first pathway to be launched to accelerate a fair and inclusive transition to a low emission and climate resilient future, with equity, and people, at its heart.

It was great to see our work alongside the Climate Action team come together in SBC and CLC’s joint response to the ERP discussion document last week.

Rather than waiting for the development of the Equitable Transitions Strategy, we are also continuing to work with BusinessNZ and Government officials on partnership opportunities to get on with concrete actions now, that support impacted firms, employees, and communities and assist their transition.

I look forward to sharing more information on these opportunities in the new year.

3. Showcasing Leadership and good practice

Launching our Thriving Voices podcast to showcase member leadership as well as build awareness of critical issues and emerging trends was another big achievement. Amongst the diverse issues we covered so far, bringing the strengths of a neurodiverse workforce into focus was a particular highlight for me. Did you know 1 in 7 Kiwis are neurodivergent?

4. Raising the floor and ceiling across our membership

With SBC’s Member Review now in full swing, you may have noticed that we have asked for additional information to understand how each member is ‘supporting inclusion, equality, diversity and the elimination of any form of discrimination, and reporting progress publicly’. This intel will help us understand how members would perform against this new member commitment ahead of its phased introduction.

5. Looking ahead to 2022

Rounding out the top five is a look ahead to the exciting plans we have for 2022, which includes a series of three webinars starting in February. These will:

  • build understanding of operationalising Just Transition pathways,
  • build capability on fair wages and employment good practices, and
  • provide platforms for member storytelling to showcase good practice and thought leadership.

We will also explore opportunities for collaboration on shared challenges to drive scaled and meaningful impact in building future ready skills and workforces to prepare workers and help them stay connected to meaningful work as we transition to a low-emissions, climate resilient future.

And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the launch of our third annual Sustainability Professionals research in partnership with SBN, AUT and Oxygen consulting in February next year.

Until then, whenever your ‘School’ is getting out, here’s to a safe and happy summer break.