Sustainable impact: how to get your colleagues on board

#CSRD  •  29/09/2022  •  Lien Moris & Katelijne Norga

New European legislation urges many companies to prepare a CO2 or sustainable roadmap for the future. But how do you, as sustainability manager, implement your plans throughout the entire organization and more importantly, how do you win the engagement of your colleagues?

There is a lot going on concerning the impending Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), the new European directive that as of 2025 requires large companies to communicate transparently about their impact on society and the environment. At first glance, reporting on the past year seems to be sufficient. But the opposite is true. Companies face the challenge of drawing up fully-fledged sustainability policies and action plans, describing in concrete terms how they are going to implement these plans in their organization and business.

The CSRD permeates through all levels and entities of the company: production, finance, legal, marketing, R&D, compliance, investor relations, sales ... Sustainability managers face the enormous challenge of implementing all these novelties within the organization. Four tips & tricks to keep your head above water when getting started with the CSRD:

1. Get management on board from the start

Without a strong engagement from the higher-ups in implementing the CSRD, you are lost. It is absolutely necessary to get C-level commitment to start up or speed up the sustainable transition. Luckily, the Green Deal and the CSRD incite a sense of urgency, giving authority to sustainability managers. Use this urgency to put sustainability high on the agenda and you will no longer shout into the void.

From now on, you will have to work even more closely with management and the board of directors. The CSRD holds them accountable for keeping track of targets and for the prevention or mitigation of negative impacts from the company on society and the environment.

2. Set up a steering committee

To get the process involving the CSRD going, you need a steering committee in which the most important departments and people who have an impact on your sustainability strategy and report are represented. Make sure you have a clear division of roles: who will be involved in the materiality analysis, who will help validate the targets and KPIs, who is responsible for the data collection for each KPI, who will follow up and report on the action plans?

Reporting is here to stay, so it is best to set up a meeting calendar for the whole year, with fixed times and dates for when the steering committee should convene. Further on, members of a steering committee can take on the role of ambassadors during the implementation of your sustainability strategy.

3. Launch your story together

Go green or go home: if you want to be profitable in the future, sustainability is the only option. Knowing that as an employee you are part of the solution is motivating. Whether your company has 50 or 5,000 employees, each colleague is a link in the sustainability plan you want to roll out in the company.

By organizing a gathering or an event at the start of your sustainability project and by consulting colleagues during the materiality analysis, you establish involvement. This way, everyone feels heard, you ensure internal commitment and you are bound to gather interesting ideas for the implementation.

Create space and resources for bottom-up initiatives. In the implementation phase, your colleagues are the ones behind the wheel. You can encourage them to get involved in a thematic working group to roll out and follow up actions in the organization and on the shop floor, for instance on climate, sustainable procurement, water management or well-being.

4. Communicate!

To get everyone behind your sustainability plans, it is helpful that they know what those plans are. So do not only communicate to your customers and other external stakeholders, but spread your story internally as well, in collaboration with your communication colleagues.

Express the sustainable company vision and strategy in an understandable way and communicate regularly about the state of affairs, new initiatives, success stories … Via your intranet, internal Facebook group or newsletter, on screens in production halls, during meetings and team activities. Organize a sustainability competition, appoint someone else as ambassador each month or install an idea box.

Need some help? We are happy to help you introduce sustainability in your company: CSRD gap analysis and compliancy report, strategy definition and roadmapping, storybuilding and internal campaigns. Contact us at

Why is internal activation so important?

The more engagement and involvement, the greater the success rate of your transition plan. Moreover, it is an ideal way to strengthen the bond with your company and between your employees. Last but not least, you build relationships with customers and financial partners and get on the radar of potential employees.

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