5 reasons why companies hire an “on-loan” sustainability manager

June 2019

Sustainability. A word that means different things, to different people. But in 2019 one thing is for sure: it is no longer a buzzword. Some companies have internal drivers for working with sustainability such as attracting and maintaining talented staff, or acting in line with their corporate values. For others the trigger comes from clients, investors or other external factors.  Whatever the drivers are, most companies agree that if they want to be around for the second half of the twenty first century, sustainability is no longer an optional setting or company add on. It’s a crucial part of their core business activities.

So, if it’s that important, why would you hire a sustainability manager instead of having one in-house?

1.      A predictable investment with a high return

Some companies are not yet mature (or profitable) enough to have a fully paid sustainability function. Investing in such a position (which is both horizontal and not primarily focused on sales or deliveries) can be seen as a risky investment. If you hire an on-loan sustainability manager you know from the beginning exactly how much that costs and for which amount of time. You can hire someone for one day a week or even full time, for a certain period. We provide the flexibility that suits your needs. A good sustainability manager is also aware of the business reality and will always keep the financial bottom line as one of the prime dimensions on her/his radar. An investment worth trying out!

2.      The fact that sustainability is horizontal, does not mean it is not a speciality

Sustainability is a mindset. A mindset that should be present in all company divisions and in all of your staff. Whether you are in purchasing, communication, sales, HR or legal: sustainability matters. But sustainability is also a specialisation and field in its own right. If you want to drive a sustainable organisation, it is important to know and understand the right frameworks, legislation and strategic expertise that is required for different parts of the company. A dedicated sustainability manager can help you to get this overview. Getting specialist competence in for a short term is also an excellent way to train your own staff!

3.      Hire one person, get a team!

When we send out a colleague on-loan to another organisation, that person is backed by our entire team. She or he will always maintain direct contact with us and have access to the collective knowledge and creativity of the entire Enact team. This means that you hire one person but get the expertise from our entire team! Our staff ranges from sustainability reporting and human rights experts to communication and system management specialists. We make sure to send you the right person with the right back up, fitting your specific needs.

4.      An external sustainability manager tests the water but does not rock the boat

Positioning a sustainability manager in your organisation can be difficult. Ideally you want that person to have a broad mandate and direct access to (or be part of) the top management. As the position of Chief Sustainability Manager is still unknown in most organisations, it can be sensitive to create such a central position immediately from scratch. Having a staff-on-loan for a limited amount of time can be a good way to “test the waters” and see how it lands, before taking the step of creating a permanent sustainability position.

5.      An external sustainability manager comes without any other agenda

A sustainability manager plays a vital role to coordinate the communication between the different parts of the organisation and to ensure that responsible business practices are implemented throughout the company. This means the sustainability manager must be able to communicate clearly and openly to align the short-term business goals and profitability with the long-term vision of the company. This can lead to sensitive discussions. Sometimes it can be practical to have an external person coming in, who does not have any other agenda than to make sure that everyone gets on board to achieve the most sustainable way forwards.

So, all in all the reasons why companies approach us to borrow one of our colleagues differ. As does the time frame. The duration of the projects where Enact has loaned out its staff, has ranged from a few weeks to approximately one and a half years. Whether you are interested in one day a week; more days a week or even temporary full-time staffer, we provide you with the best interim solution to support you in achieving your sustainability goals.

Interested in knowing more? Please reach out to our Head Advisory services Ulrika Lagerqvist at: Ulrika.lagerqvist@enact.se  or by telephone at: 076 174 63 41