The Ten Commandments for Effective Sustainability According to 17 Great Companies
19 de May de 2022
19 de May de 2022
“10 years ago, when we invested on renewable energies, everyone looked at us as if we were crazy”, says José Ángel Marra, Director of HR and Corporate Security at Iberdrola. In ten years, sustainability went from a distant goal to a programme’s must. Companies, employees, clients and society have become familiar with the concepts and goals of sustainable development and the fight against climate change that permeate our everyday actions.
It’s a quiet revolution, less noticeable than digital transformation, but just as deep or even more. Pilar LLácer, director of EAE’s Work of the Future Centre, thinks that many companies may have lost track of the first one, but “no one can be late” for this second sustainable transformation. Carlos Anta, Organisation, Talent and Health Director at Acciona, says that “there’s a perception of urgency and relevance around the sustainability challenge that wasn’t there before”.
Luis Blas, Chief Human Resources Officer of Altadis Tobacco Company, explains: “This is not just about green initiatives and the environment; it’s about a way of doing things that will last". Society itself drives companies towards commitment; and companies respond with concrete plans and actions that go beyond the scope of competition in order to collaborate in the face of our planet’s future challenges.
Diversity, inclusion, circular economy, energetic transicion, mobility… The sustainability umbrella gathers numerous aspects that call on the corporate world to redefine its values and open new paths for professionals of all types. “The debate on sustainability is a reference framework that covers every aspect; it used to depend on leadership but, currently, it’s up to a series of initiatives”, says Antonio Lasaga, Head of HR Airbus Group Spain.
We’re not talking about businesses anymore —at least not exclusively—, but of ethics and the future. Sustainability supposes an intergenerational collaboration in which results shouldn’t be affected. It brings deep changes in habits and consumption of the general population and companies, who have the challenge of becoming attractive in this context, both for customers and stakeholders, but also for the workers themselves.
EAE Business School, in collaboration with enClave de Personas and Inserta Empleo/Fundación ONCE, has asked 17 great companies about their goals, values and, specifically, actions on HR and Talent that integrate sustainability. The result is The White Book of Sustainability in Human Resources in Spain, which picks up on success cases and good practices and helps identify challenges and opportunities for the professionals of the future. Based on the experience of these 17 great Spanish companies, the White Book extracts the following ten commandments to implement sustainability in big, medium-sized and small companies:
For the HR department, aligning with SDGs brings interesting short and medium term challenges. Also for the academic world, that must accompany the corporate world —and vice versa—, in the training of new professionals that have sustainability knowledge and values ingrained in them. With that orientation goal in mind, two years ago, EAE launched the Work of the Future Centre and other academic options such as the Master’s in Sustainability and the Master’s in Leadership in Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility.
Different aspects, such as energetic transformation, mobility or corporate responsibility, offer huge work opportunities. It’s a field that has great room for development. A perfect example of this is that 84% of the companies that took part in the White Book said they had trouble finding talents for sustainability positions. In the face of these concepts, new positions were born — positions that are in high demand. Companies have highlighted the following:
However, integrating sustainability to the corporate world and in social dynamics must be a cross-disciplinary and integrative endeavour. It’s a framework, a raising of general awareness that concerns every single operational line and not just specific leadership positions. In fact, there are not many big companies without their own Sustainability Plan and more and more companies are creating the position of Sustainability Ambassador. Workers themselves will call for, and are calling for, responsible companies. Guaranteeing the realisation of the melting point of interests for the benefit of the planet will make a company more attractive.
From the employees side, SDGs mean they will have to adapt their old positions to the new demands through reskilling and to have a direct commitment to the philosophy. Critical capacity and adaptation are becoming increasingly valuable. Sustainability is not something you add to a company, rather the driving engine for its actions and vision. Just like Luis Blas explains: “Most companies are redefining our answer to the question ‘Why are we here?’, and that’s extremely powerful”. If sustainability is really a priority, its transformational power has to be cultural and central in the world of business.
You can watch the presentation of the White Book of Sustainability in Human Resources in Spain here.