How to make a Sustainability Pledge

21 October 2021

Earlier today – 10 days ahead of COP26 – we ran an AMA Conference session with our friends Unicorn Theatre“Taking Action On Climate Change: on stage, off stage, and online.”

We crammed all kinds of useful insights and tips – from organisational change to practical 'quick wins' – into 40 minutes.

Jenn Taillefer, the Unicorn's Production and Technical Director, covered the theatre's new carbon literacy training programme, greening productions, and their building. And Director of Marketing and Communications, Jen Pearce, told us how the Unicorn's marketing activities are helping them spread the word, and be more sustainable.

I talked about Supercool's journey – starting from small, ad hoc nods towards sustainability to becoming a remote team, working on carbon negative website projects. And Strategy Director, Kate Mroczkowski, explained how we're employing Circular Economy principles in our work.

We ended the session with a challenge that we wanted to open up to everyone – Make your own Sustainability Pledge 🌳

But talking about sustainability is scary 😱

I totally understand. It took me a good while before I felt comfortable enough to open up about what we're doing at Supercool to be more environmentally sustainable. No one wants to greenwash – or be accused of greenwashing – so it was important to make sure we were using our time and resources wisely, on things that actually make a difference.

So, I made sure we were taking concrete actions to reduce our carbon footprint. And I had to accept the fact that we'd never be perfect or be able to do everything. (That can be tough!)

We shared Supercool's Sustainability Pledge in December 2020.

Since then, we've significantly increased our work towards becoming more sustainable in general – and specifically carbon negative. Over the past 10 months I've been reading-up and attending webinars to learn more about sustainability – digital sustainability in particular – from all kinds of sources. And something that everyone mentions is the importance of talking about it.

We all have a responsibility to challenge the sector and our peers – to hold each other accountable, but also to support each other to do more. The more we all share what we've done, what we're doing, what we're trying – and how we're progressing – the more we encourage others to be more sustainable too.

We all have a responsibility to challenge the sector and our peers – to hold each other accountable, but also to support each other to do more

Make your Sustainability Pledge

Your Sustainability Pledge can take any form that suits you, but these pointers cover things you might want to include – explaining what the Pledge means to you, celebrating the things you’ve done already, and setting-out your action plan for the future.

1. Framing – why you’re making this Pledge

Whether you’re making this Pledge as an individual or an organisation, it’s useful to include a bit of framing. This may be a simple acknowledgement of your responsibility. Or you could go into detail about why sustainability is a crucial part of your day-to-day activities. In short; why are you doing this?

2. What you’ve done so far

This is your chance to list everything you’ve already done towards becoming more sustainable. This might include banning disposable cups, the team working from home several days a week, or reducing the number of images you use in marketing emails.

3. What you’re going to do next

Make a list of actions for the future. It’s good to make this a mix of ‘quick wins’ and more ambitious targets. That way you can do some things right away, while having more to work towards over time.

4. Set deadlines

We all know that deadlines are important for getting things done – and the actions in your Sustainability Pledge are no exception. Include time limits against your action plan. If you don’t achieve everything by your deadline, don’t worry. Use it as a chance to review where you’ve got to so far; then re-jig your plan, and keep working on reaching your targets.

If you prefer your templates as PDFs, here's a handy download:

📥 Sustainability Pledge Template [PDF 41kb]

(Please don't print it!)

Now you've made your pledge – share it 🤗

Telling others what you’re doing is really important. It not only shows that you care and are taking action, it also gives your peers ideas for things they can do too. (In this scenario, copying = good!) Normalising being mindful of sustainability, day-to-day, encourages more people to follow your example.

Publish your Sustainability Pledge on your website, give talks at events, share press articles and blog posts, include sustainability work in your programme, talk to colleagues and peers about it, include updates about what you’re doing and how it's going to your social channels – so that your audiences know it's important to you too.

Being more sustainable is a good news story, so it's worth sharing.

Although none of us can do everything, by listening, learning, and sharing, we can all do something to help create change for good.

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's Sustainability Pledges out in the wild – let me know when you've shared yours?

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