FM & sustainability: the social, environmental and commercial challenge

Sustainability is a huge topic – broad in scope, critical in importance, and replete with both opportunity and risk.  In commercial terms, sustainability aims to achieve the balance between economic, environmental and social impacts through the effective management of resources while maximising organisational profitability.

A widely cited benchmark for policy and action, the UN Sustainable Development Goals span 17 headings – from climate and energy to work, health and wellbeing – all with associated targets.  These often form a context for the sustainability goals set by individual organisations; and they are a reminder that sustainability is about more than just positive ‘green’ credentials, as important as those are. In its full sense, sustainability should lead to transformative change in how we behave, interact and do business with others – including our customers and our supply chains.  All this represents a complex challenge for strategists and decision-makers – what can we learn from the organisations and individuals taking a lead on sustainable practices? 

For facilities management there is an added layer of challenge. FM service providers have the opportunity to advise, guide and support their customers on sustainability strategy and tactics. This means that service providers themselves must be seen to be knowledgeable and effective leaders in this area.  This in turn means our own strategies and tactics must be demonstrably on-target and equal to or even more advanced than those of our customers.

The opportunities are considerable for FM, in both sustainability and commercial terms, with market demand for services growing significantly.  But there are considerable risks, too, for firms that are not ready for the challenge. The downside could be loss of those opportunities, or loss of business and potential damage to reputation. It could mean losing out on the attraction and retention of good young people, too. 

So, what does FM need to know and do now? What can we learn from companies and individuals taking a lead?

This conference will focus on hands-on experience, practical advice and useful take-aways. Workplace Futures has an established reputation for bringing together an exceptional panel of speakers with an audience of professionals ready to engage and reap the benefits of participation. They will be committed to the concept that facilities management can be the discipline known for its reliable and effective support right across the spectrum of sustainability issues.

February’s programme will be structured around the three key topics of the day: social, environmental and commercial – all three representing both opportunities and challenges. Speakers will be drawn from relevant professional organisations, together with client-side organisations and FM service providers who are leading the way on defining needs and practical solutions that are delivering demonstrable results.  Effective means for measuring and reporting results will also be an issue for the day, as will the market opportunities available to FM companies that successfully differentiate themselves via their track record in sustainability.