What can companies do to aid the advance of sustainability?

Sustainability has to be driven both top-down and bottom-up. At ACCIONA we do it through our Sustainability Master Plan―driven by the Sustainability Committee and the Sustainability Area’s management team
  1. They need to take action ―right now. The world is undergoing a transition towards sustainability. ACCIONA has been fostering sustainability since 2005 ―and we’re making more and more progress by the day. In the early stages, thanks to a raft of initiatives; and currently thanks to ACCIONA’s Sustainability Master Plan (SMP) which encompasses the entire range of this kind of initiatives, plans them in a structured way and applies them horizontally and with a medium-to-long term vision.
  2. They need to balance ongoing initiatives. Companies need to balance measures such as the Energy Efficiency Plan, by bringing disabled workers in to the workforce or through a Corporate Volunteer Plan with medium- and long-term projects such as linking variable remuneration to competencies in sustainability or emissions control-linked compensation. In this sense, companies need to get into the habit of carrying out their activities in parallel and horizontally across their organizations.
  3. Companies have to integrate the concept of multilaterality at all levels. Sustainability has to be driven both top-down and bottom-up. At ACCIONA we do it through our Sustainability Master Plan―driven by the Sustainability Committee and the Sustainability Area’s management team―and through a broad set of measures involving innovation or limiting the environmental footprint of our projects before finally integrating them in our corporate strategy.
  4. Interweave practices, initiatives and plans structurally across the organization. ACCIONA’s Sustainability General Area uses the SMP to work directly with the Corporate Governance team, the Financial team, the HR team, Purchases, Environment, Quality and Processes, and other areas, towards the implementation of horizontal measures and initiatives (e.g. training and the Social Action Plan) and vertical ones (e.g. requirements for providers or the inclusion of sustainability criteria in the Corporate Risk Map. Companies must avoid turning sustainability into a silo and avoid linking it to any particular area other than Sustainability itself.
  5. Everything must be measured: if specific business metrics do not exist, invent them. ACCIONA’s SMP includes a range of verifiable indicators for each of the commitments and objectives laid down in the Plan’s nine areas of action, and our aim is to submit them to external verification in the course of 2011.
  6. Intangibles must be taken seriously. ACCIONA works daily to promote sustainability practices worldwide, institutionally and across its businesses. We see sustainability as something that contributes to not only to our reputation but also the ability to generate the business conditions needed for the success of our sustainable business model.
  7. Internal and external transparency is the basis of authenticity, which is necessary for success. Let’s get real: sustainability needs to help mitigate risks and discover and generate business opportunities. That’s why we’ve modified our management style and our corporate risk map to face the long-term challenges of sustainability, which has marked the way in which we train our personnel in sustainability practices. There is a clear need to move beyond the short-term and to understand opportunities that involve another way of doing business. Those business opportunities require a new organizational and entrepreneurial model. Here at ACCIONA we believe that we embody this new model.