BIFM has published the 2013 Sustainability in FM report which provides insight into how Facilities Management professionals and the businesses they represent are engaging with the sustainability agenda.
This is the 7th published report which pays particular attention to the tremendous support for sustainability to be embedded into business operations, but also the challenges which often arise when trying to deliver those aspirations. The report has established the top five barriers which might have slowed success of implementation, three of the barriers related to engagement, including, engagement amongst senior management and middle management.
Another point raised within the report is that most of the Facilities Management professionals are not targeting the areas of highest priority relating to behaviours or processes which have the highest impact; instead they tend to focus on technologies. The cultural change management aspect of delivering sustainability policies is an area identified by many and reinforced by the need to have board level leadership, and that staff at every level should be actively responsible.
The prominent roles in driving these agendas forward are played by legislation and increased pressure on brands and businesses to demonstrate their Corporate Social Responsibility. It is clear that there has been significant increase in the implementation of sustainability policies within organisations.
There is evidence that a lot of progress has been made; therefore the report poses the questions of whether FM is going beyond compliance. Legislation has long been a significant and necessary driver; however, by far the most important aspects of sustainability to organisations were health and safety, energy and waste management.
All of these aspects have strong legislative requirements that underpin them and are typically the responsibility of FM professionals to deliver on site. The other two items – KPIs and Staff Wellbeing – reflect the target driven culture for sustainability within business, together with the increasing recognition of staff wellbeing being interconnected with many other benefits and costs to a business such as productivity and sickness leave.
Chair of the BIFM Sustainability Special Interest Group, Lucy Black, said:
“The role of the facilities management professional is central to leading, implementing, educating and enabling sustainable practice within business. Producing the survey of practising FMs enables the BIFM to understand the challenges they are facing and how to support them in their roles.”
“Facilities management has an influential role to play in meeting key sustainability and environmental targets not only for their individual businesses but also in the design, fit-out or refurbishment to deliver more efficient buildings.”
BIFM CEO, Gareth Tancred, said:
“Successes and the level of challenge vary greatly from outsourced provider, to in-house FM and from sector to sector within the economy. Many of the challenges can be traced back to understanding, whether the board understands the implications and benefits or fellow business departments understand the drivers behind the policies. These challenges can be met through clear communication and leadership to bring about that next stage in the cultural change management process.”
“These results provide a barometer for the sector but they also inform us, the Institute, as to how we can further aid FM professionals through tools, resources and education to enable them to take the lead in their organisations, driving the sustainability agenda forward for business, and for society.”
The survey and workshop based research, sponsored by Open Energi, and was led by the BIFM Sustainability Special Interest Group (SIG) in collaboration with The University of Reading. The published results were analysed by Acclaro Advisory on behalf of the BIFM Sustainability SIG and identify key trends in engagement and effectiveness of sustainability practices and policies being implemented by facilities management professionals and the challenges and barriers they face.
If you would like to review the full report and the executive summary you can download the report by clicking here.
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