Implementing sustainability strategies within organisations: a case study of the London Olympics legacy
This work analyses and explores how the sustainability strategies are implemented within organisations. With this, the opportunities to improve their development and incorporation on the business structure are identified; which lead to deliver sustainability as a legacy in the future. The London 2012 Olympic Games have been selected as a case study. With sustainability at the heart of the project, strategies have been placed to embed sustainable development in the environmental, economic and social aspects of the Games. The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is responsible to ensure that sustainability is part of the planning and execution phases. Meanwhile, the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) is in charge of ensuring sustainable development and legacy after the London Olympics.
Through interviews with LLDC Planning and Sustainability representatives and the review of the ODA’s Sustainable Development Strategy, the environmental sustainability objectives were identified. This structured the analysis and discussion of how organisations design and manage the strategies to accomplish the environmental targets; as well as the impacts, limitations and challenges faced during the implementation process.
By recognising the inconsistencies between the proposed environmental goals and the actual achievements, the basis is formed to explore new strategies that address the findings through the sustainability principles as an assessment tool. The role of the organisation as a dynamic entity is also studied, aiming to understand the conditions and limitations driving the incorporation of sustainability as part of the core operations. The importance of no-isolation is discussed as it provides the platform for the organisation to strategically extend the sustainability initiatives, first internally and then externally through the engagement with the stakeholders. Sustainability as a legacy is studied and linked to the need of developing and putting in place strategies that integrate it as an everlasting principle. It is also brought to the discussion the importance of auditing the sustainable practices by an independent organism, which assesses the efficiency of the schemes on a continuous basis.
Preliminary results from this analysis indicate that implementing sustainability strategies is linked to the trade-off process where different drivers arise, bringing the challenge for the organisation to balance the counterparts smartly. Also, the communication and inclusion of the strategies throughout the organisation encourages other stakeholders to replicate the process and adopt sustainable practices. Setting sustainability as a main driver represents an enormous challenge on its own. However, the combination of well-defined goals and structured strategies along with a synergy between the organisation and its elements in a holistic approach leads to deliver sustainability as a legacy.