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What if we lack support from top management? Identify and engage with other key internal stakeholders who can contribute to management awareness and support. You should also build a portfolio of successful programmes and then use metrics from those successes to revisit the subject with top management.

How do we decide which of the many environmental issues to deal with? Set priorities – you will not be able to address all issues simultaneously. Identify the areas of biggest impact and then start with projects that offer low-hanging fruit and easily relate to financial and social drivers. Energy efficiency (and, consequently, the reduction of CO2 emissions) is usually a good place to start.

What if a goal is not being met? Monitor performance along the way to ensure that the responsible parties and management are aware of the project’s (lack of) progress. Call attention to the behaviours and systems that should be updated, and use this as an opportunity to ‘rally the troops’ around the issue.



How do we set a goal when there is no existing data? Rather than setting a goal for the entire focus area, start by setting a goal for establishing a baseline by a given time. For example, if an institution wants to introduce composting but does not know what percentage of its waste stream is composed of organic materials, it will be difficult to set realistic targets. The first step in this instance would be to conduct a waste audit and then use that data to set goals.

IARU - Green Guide for Universities – pathways towards sustainability