Running a sustainability program in 2021
2021 was a year of contrasts for everyone working on their craft. None must have dealt with the contrast more than sustainability managers. Between lockdowns, travel restrictions, and their own corporate reporting schedules, sustainability managers have had to overcome technology adoption and large distances to manage their sustainability projects.
Rural South Africa: Eastern Cape
Some of the essential learning of the last 18 months or so have been:
- Adoption of a new project, required behaviors and processes takes time and consistent nurturing. The projects may include hygiene & health, nutrition, community development, education or recycling.
- Communication technology has made remote and rich communication possible. Even remote rural communities have a basic understanding and some access to communications such as video calls.
- The presence of local support that belongs and lives in these communities has become all the more important. The local support personnel understand the purpose of the sustainability project, are an equal beneficiary as well as a champion at the same time. They play a key role offering day to day resolution of matters while motivating the community to keep up the project work.
- Recognition is an essential part of the motivation to keep these projects going.
- Recognition and responsibility go hand in hand with transparency. It became ever more clear the project data would need to flow back to the headquarters seamlessly. Where project data did not flow, the provisioning of resources became difficult.
- That meant a high degree of orchestration between the community, the community leaders, the project team and the experts. Everyone had their specific role and could play their role in autonomy.
Several sustainability projects have managed to pull through this period, by changing behaviors, processes and tools used to run these projects. We speak about running these projects from experience:
Our partner in India went from managing 5 projects for 30 sponsors to running 10 projects for 90 sponsors in less than 6 months. All of the work was done remotely. They intend to scale to 30 projects this year.
Another client in South Africa, expanded from one project site being launched in Oct 2020 to four sites in March 2021 in the same township, and is now expanding the project to 3 townships in 3 cities
We realize that this could mean a whole lot more than meets the eye:
- The sustainability project’s impact does not have to be limited to a city, or province. Once you have established a workflow, it can expand to national or international projects.
- One need not be onsite for much of the duration of the project. One can recruit diligent local partners remotely, assign clear roles and responsibilities, provision easy to use communication and reporting tools right as the project kicks off. This means running projects at half the costs previously known.
- The sustainability data does not have to be ‘batch processed’, it can be collected and reported in real time. The data can be validated in real time. One need not spend any effort organizing the data, but only in analyzing it. This means getting more and better sponsorships becomes effortless.
- One can set and communicate project milestones, weekly objectives, track performance against these objectives, assign rewards & incentives, issue these rewards in real time. This means project performance stays on track all the time.
The list of possibilities goes on. One asks the question, how? Especially since it seems like your sustainability team will become a team of IT experts at the end of this. Indeed the above seems impossible without
A collaboration tool
With Workflow automation
A Contracting tool
A Data collection and analysis platform
Rewards and Incentives platform
If a sustainability team has set up all of these different systems for themselves and customized them to suit their specific needs, they have done really well. But if they have not, they are in for a round of corporate approvals, implementation timelines, and expensive mistakes.
How can Kudoti help
Kudoti is building the circular economy through more profitable waste supply chains. Our work in the CE extends easily to sustainability. Kudoti works across multiple stakeholders to build an entirely digital circular economy through the following activities:
- Sponsoring of ecosystem partners
- Tracking and tracing materials
- Trading of materials
- Setting up and disbursement of rewards and incentives
We also understand that one size does not fit all. Our platform is modular and API based. Which means that the workflows can be embedded into existing systems or consumer applications. It also means that the workflows can be customized to meet the designed circular supply chain.