We used Time4Society Europe as an opportunity for our team to learn more about ourselves from a sustainability perspective and to improve our performance on the SDGs. Our team, that is bridges to europe, the EU division of die Berater, where 10 colleagues work with other European partners in the field of education. This was the first time that we decidedly reflected on the SDGs together. Since we see ourselves as the company’s research and development team, we felt it was high time to take a closer look at the topic.

After we had all dealt with the topic of sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations in a self-learning process – thanks to the SDG Explorer App this was possible despite the Corona lock – we were able to create an overview of our work in relation to the individual SDGs in a joint workshop.

 

 

We entered individual sustainability aspects in a matrix with regard to the strength of our influence and the impact of our actions. This overview showed impressively that we probably have the greatest development potential in the environmental area. So we decided to go ahead and collect ideas on what exactly we can do better. A key moment in the discussion was the question to what extent each team member would be willing to commit to certain principles in their work. As a result of this team development activity, we established a “Green Project Policy” to which we all committed.

 

 

We have also agreed to continue in this process. We have included the topic of sustainability in our regular team meetings and will develop a catalogue of criteria to better evaluate our performance. We also plan to actively move forward as a team and promote the integration of sustainability in relation to the SDGs in the other areas of the company.

Some feedback statements of team members:

“The self-exploring activity was very useful for me to raise my awareness and also to improve my knowledge on the SDGs. The results also made me reflect on my personal information gaps. The work on the concrete profile for our department as well as the workshop was very valuable, since we collected a lot of ideas and possibilities for the implementation and application of SDGs in our professional environment and we formulated concrete strategy for further steps.”

“As a basis for the discussion, it was extremely helpful for me to already make preliminary considerations, such as which areas of the SDGs are most relevant for the company or which ones carry the most potential for improvement. Thereby, a thought-provoking process was triggered beforehand. Throughout the workshop itself, the SDG #13 Climate Action emerged as a key theme. Even though there was a consensus that we should be more proactive in the field of climate protection, the suggestions for the specific implementation and commitment in practice were very diverse in terms of approach. Personally, I learnt a lot on resource-friendly working, especially concerning project management, data exchange & storage, climate-friendly initiatives on a regional & national level and on a resource-saving vs. resource-friendly behaviour. The set-up of the workshop allowed for a deep dive into sustainability at work and beyond. I’m looking forward to the upcoming activities and developments initiated by these discussions.”

“The workshop was a good opportunity to reflect about sustainability and what we individually can do. Often the process is limited to talk about fancy terms and concepts without really facing our daily working life, but this workshop was different. It gave us the possibility to examine our routines and our working methods and, thanks to the SDGs, it was possible to determine where we can start to act more sustainable. The focus was on doing, not just on talking. With this workshop I feel not only more aware of the importance of a sustainable working methods, but also more prepared to implement it in the daily life.”

Conclusion: Sustainability is a buzzword that has already worn out before it has been properly understood and rudimentarily implemented. However, it is too important to dismiss it quickly. It is not that easy to commit to a sustainable way of working. With our green project policy, we have made a start. In the future, we want to shed even more light on the topic of practised sustainability for the education sector.

 

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