ICRS Fellows Hub – Net Zero Bravery

Key insights and lessons

The learning event attracted a group of Fellows who were eager to share experiences and learn from each other about how we can bravely rise to the challenge of Net Zero, both at the organisational level and the individual level.

We first heard from Simon Earles, Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Director at Bristol Airport who successfully “warmed up” the discussion with some great insights from an industry that is a challenge to decarbonise. Some of the lessons prompted from his perspectives included:

  • You need to put your head above the parapet and set ambitious targets for the future, even though you might be uncertain how these can be achieved
  • However, to avoid potential accusations of ‘greenwash’, these long-term targets need to be associated with a clear road map, so stakeholders understand the direction of travel
  • Building partnerships to help deliver on these ambitions is vital, as is support from your shareholders
  • Personal resilience is key – having the patience to wait while others get on board with the long-term vision
  • Speaking the language of your stakeholders is an important part of bringing about this shift in the mindset of others. As is story telling – a key tool in persuasion
  • But don’t forget the need for hard evidence, being able to show in real terms what can be achieved is a powerful motivator
  • One key factor in being brave is holding others to account for playing their part in achieving Net Zero. But this must be done in a way that shifts from a ‘blame culture’ to one of ‘shared responsibility’ where people are able to own missteps on the journey and all can learn from them
  • Finally, there was agreement that the pursuit of perfection should not be an excuse for inertia. You need to take a certain amount of risk and a leap of faith, as one corporate likes to put it – just do it!

Additional Resources:

Those wishing to learn more about some of these themes might be interested in the following resources:

Moving From Blame to Accountability” an article by Marilyn Paul posted on The Systems Thinker

The Heart of the City is running a Net Zero programme for SMEs

ICRS Fellows Hub Steering Committee

Above is the Steering Committee for the Fellows Hub: Hadin Ahmed (ICRS Secretariat), David Vazquez, Regan Leahy (ICRS Secretariat), Tanya Ashton, Andrew Wilson, Karin Mueller, Kirsty Green-Mann