Caroline Hill joined Land Securities, the largest commercial property company in the UK, in April 2015. CEO Robert Noel, had just set a new ambition to make Land Securities a sustainability sector leader, so Caroline wasted no time in setting up the sustainability function and governance to support the delivery of that goal.
Setting the Scene
Set up for success
Having secured Board level sign-off for the new sustainability strategy, the next hurdle was setting up the team in the way that Caroline felt could best support the strategy and help it come to life.The solution was to bring together everyone in the organisation with responsibility for sustainability into one focused team of 20.
Caroline’s first year is filled with key milestones and achievements, including: attaining ISO50001 for the whole business; signing a new 100 percent renewable electricity contract; the inclusion of sustainability performance in results press releases and discussions with investors and the setting of stretching science-based carbon reduction targets.Caroline even found time to speak at a UN PRI platform at the COP negotiations in Paris.
Achieving Rapid Combined Impact
A stand-out achievement came in the form of a new organising framework for sustainability.Deliberately designed to be straightforward and memorable, senior leaders within the company are now well versed in the strategy and the stories that support it’s delivery.
Caroline has seen a real step change in terms of the understanding of the sustainability agenda from senior executives and CEO, Robert Noel, has spoken on several external platforms about the sustainability programme.
Caroline attributes this step change to the introduction of the new framework, but also to the new cycle of regular meetings with senior leaders across the business e.g. the quarterly slots at the Retail and London Executive Committee meetings and the attending of regular general management meetings.
Creating a Lasting Legacy
The awareness raising has continued throughout the business, with Caroline attending department meetings to explain how sustainability is relevant to each area. New mandatory training, called ‘Sustainability Matters’ has also been rolled out to all staff and a new Sustainability Working Group set up to help deliver the strategy across the business.
Advice for Creating Positive Impact
“Not everyone’s going to be supportive so pick your battles and don’t be disappointed when some things don’t work out. Have lots of energy - sustainability is still optional and a nice to have for most people in their roles - so you really need to enthuse people in the art of the possible. Make it about opportunities rather than compliance and risks. Finally, maintain a strong network of peers around you to bounce ideas off.”
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