Why Ricardo is offering free sustainability 'health checks'

Why Ricardo is offering free sustainability 'health checks'

A one-to-one 'health check' with our sustainability experts will help you refocus your priorities

With passengers, regulators and other industry stakeholders placing an ever-greater emphasis on sustainability, the rail sector must now show it can act on its many past promises.

But moving from published intentions of managing environmental and social impacts to actual, quantifiable actions requires more than rhetoric. It calls for a strategic approach, replete with priorities, action plans and processes for measuring, reporting and communicating progress.

It also needs a show of pragmatism. Whilst ambitious in their intentions, rail organisations must also be realistic about the industry's structural and economic challenges.

And they must also show accommodation for external factors such as climate change, resource scarcity and supply shocks: COVID-19, for example, demonstrated how vulnerable entire sectors can be to events beyond their control, no matter how detailed their long-term plans.

A timely health check to cut through the complexity

Over many years, Ricardo's sustainability experts have worked with organisations of all sizes across a range of sectors to help them transition from early convictions to tangible results.

In the course of their work they have identified seven guiding principles that all sustainability strategies must have if they are to cut through the complexities and focus on outcomes that really matter to the organisation and its stakeholders.

Now, the team are offering free sustainability 'health checks' to organisations in the rail sector to help managers review progress and embed these seven principles within their own strategies.

Seven simple things all successful sustainability strategies must do

1. Know where you are

The first step of any successful strategy is to establish a baseline. It helps you take stock of where you are, identify what has worked and, most importantly, what hasn’t. Have you set the right targets for your goals? Are your processes delivering results?

2. Focus on what matters to your organisation

Most organisations fall into the trap of working across several areas of sustainability all at once. Yet by accepting the realities of time and resource constraints, an optimised approach is to prioritise one or two areas. Be selective in where to focus your attention by considering what is important for your customers and staff.

3. Gather the right data

You can’t manage what you don’t monitor. Set measurable targets, gather the right data and track progress. One client, for example, identified the importance of capturing uniform data across different sites to develop performance indicators. This allowed them to compare the carbon intensity of each location and prioritise their investments in low carbon technologies.

4. Invest in the process, not just the goal

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Adapt, refine and use the systems and processes you already have and with which your colleagues are familiar. These could be environmental management systems, health and safety systems or procurement processes. Establish dedicated project teams to drive progress and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders.

5. Be action-oriented

Solid action plans generally work better than strategies that are 90% background and policy. Initiatives that set challenging targets and are backed by a strong plan will motivate teams and help them to see how they are contributing towards success.

6. Don’t let perfection get in the way

Be ready to adapt and alter direction as your organisation changes or the operational environment evolves. Be open to changing your plans in response to what the latest data is telling you.

7. Whether good or bad news, report progress.

Providing regular reports demonstrates transparency and accountability. Involve stakeholders on the journey by being open about both your successes and your challenges and encourage dialogue.

Arrange your 1:1 health check

A critical friend is always helpful when reassessing a strategy or a process.

Wherever you are on your sustainability journey, why not take this opportunity to get an independent, impartial review of current progress and some expert advice on how you can speed up progress towards your objectives.

For more information, or to arrange a free, 60 minute 1:1 health check with one of our experts, please contact us below

Contact us

Please tick the boxes below if you give consent for Ricardo to contact you with additional information on our services, products or events. Your information will be stored on our secure systems, will not be shared with 3rd parties, click here for Ricardo’s privacy notice.

19 February 2021