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Integrated sustainability tool for local government

Network creation & governance

Integrated sustainability tool for local government

This study wants to offer local government the necessary tools to build out an organization-wide policy in which sustainability permeates all components and echelons and previously undertaken steps are incorporated in the bigger picture.

Type project Budget Minister Homans to promote corporate social responsibility (M.B. November 20, 2017)
Project partners MVO Vlaanderen
Duration October 01, 2017 - September 30, 2019

Problem description

Within local administrations, the sustainability policy is often characterized by an uncoordinated ad hoc approach, pigeonholing, lack of follow-up, limited access to tools and knowledge, the thematic predominance of milieu and the north-south issue and the absence of fixed performance indicators.

Furthermore, local administrations are intricate in composition and structure. This is foremost because of their very diverse range of tasks and the fact that, as the lowest level of government, they are closest to the inhabitants and have to take responsibility for highly diverse – often operational – aspects of service provision.

The Sustatool method is an accessible management process in 5 phases, based on a system of continuous improvement. Furthermore, there is an entirely customizable dashboard of 15 sustainability and optimization themes spread across the internal process level, the internal organizational level and themes that are of importance both internally and policy-wise. Per theme, dozens of concrete and feasible sustainability initiatives are described, many of which offer a surplus value. Furthermore, the Sustatool offers a customizable range of standard indicators across all themes, facilitating a perfect monitoring of the progress on all measurable results.

Duurzaamheid 1

Course of the project

After the literature review and preparatory phase, each of the trial policies runs through the phases of the tool:

  1. Analyze: internal and external context analysis, stakeholder mapping
  2. Advise: formulating organization values and sustainability vision and mission
  3. Activate: establish an objectives-and-actions tree
  4. Implement: formulate an action plan and execute measures
  5. Control: follow-up KPIs and sustainability reporting for stakeholders

The internal leaders of the project in every local administration are brought together in a learning network. Besides a minimal training, participants learn from each other’s experiences and through mutual knowledge transfer. The added value of this learning community is that we can efficiently observe and see how the participants experience the Sustatool method together.

The sustainability tool will offer local government a tool to launch and implement an integrated sustainability policy. Because everything is linked to SDGs, guideline organizational management, etc. and the input and follow-up are centralized, working in silos and double work are avoided.

Target group

The sustainability tool will offer local government a tool to launch and implement an integrated sustainability policy. Because everything is linked to SDGs, guideline organizational management, etc. and the input and follow-up are centralized, working in silos and double work are avoided.

Results

Through elaborate testing and implementation of the complete Sustatool method in a representative group of local administrations, these administrations are offered practical tools to embed sustainability in their new multi-year schedules from a corporate perspective and through organizational management. These tools materialize in the drawn up decision-making process (with draft decisions), actions plans and methods, and best practices. They are matched to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the guideline organizational management by Audit Vlaanderen, etc. Where possible, parallel initiatives (e.g. by provincial government, inter-municipal cooperatives, energy companies, VVSG) are integrated or positioned within the overarching whole.