The hallmark of this material is to help facility managers apply sustainable management practices to both the built and natural environments.
Secondly, it’s to ensure that sustainability is considered ALWAYS as a factor in every organization’s decision making as it affects the environment, the facilities we manage and its occupants. We may start of by considering the meaning of environmental sustainability.
What is environmental sustainability?
There are many definitions of this topic. However, the one most appealing to our discussion is by the World Commission on Environment and Development. The Commission defines sustainability as “development that meets the needs of the PRESENT without compromising the ability of FUTURE generations to meet their own needs”. Note the two key words – present and future! In other words, sustainable practices seek to accommodate human needs (for the present) without diminishing the productivity or health of future generations. Sustainability is to “live and let’s live”. Sustainability for organizations is more important today than it has ever been. The current historical period has been referred to as “the age of accountability”. Businesses used to have the luxury of deciding whether or not to participate in environmental sustainability practices. Today it’s no longer a choice but a requirement.
An organization today is judged not just on the basis of the quality of goods and services it produces but also on the care it shows to the people and environment. This has become an ethical and legal responsibility. Therefore, organizations must conduct their strategic activities in compliance with environmental laws and regulations.
FIVE PRINCIPLES OF SUSTAINABILITY
In leading any organization to sustainability, the Facility Manager can rely on five principles to shape the facility’s sustainable response. They are:
- Reduce consumption- Facility managers need to encourage a change in the behaviour and expectations of occupants and owners. It may also be necessary to change some operating processes and parameters like cycle time.
- Attention to detail – Paying attention to detail and looking at viable alternatives can help reduce waste and contribute to savings in every aspect.
- Reduce pollution- Organizations put out many forms of pollution such as air, water, noise and waste. And each of these can be reduced through different techniques.
- Always show good corporate citizenship – Corporate citizenship refers to organizational behaviour in relation to their environment. It involves considering impact on community when making decisions.
- Demonstrate ethical behaviour – Many organizations have an ethical policy that communicates the expected standards for management, staff and suppliers. This ethical policy should incorporate expectations about sustainable behaviour in regards to the environment and society.