Sustainability Management at Seibert Media

The last time I wrote a blog post was in November 2019 in the wake of the Conscious Capitalism conference in Berlin. Since then, Seibert Media has taken steps - both large and small - to become more sustainable. Now it's time to give you an interim report focusing on these three main questions:

  1. What was our starting point in the new year?
  2. What's our main strategy moving forward?
  3. What milestones or goals have we set?

Q1 2020 - What we've been up to

The Conscious Capitalism conference in September 2019 inspired us to reflect on the impact that Seibert Media has on our environment. While both the conference and the overall concept of conscious capitalism tend to focus rather intensively on topics such as purpose and leadership, it's clear that the area of environmental sustainability is currently the hot topic generating the most buzz.

We've made several efforts for some time now; such as sponsoring our employees' public transit passes, switching to green electricity, and choosing to order from caterers who avoid using disposable packaging.

At Seibert Media, we pride ourselves in our dedication to making our business transparent and sharing the information on a regular basis. We had our first Meetup on the topic of conscious corporate management and sustainability even before our sustainability task force (by now I'd like to call us a team) had assembled.

We knew we were on to something when on the 5th of February more than thirty guests came to the LuisenForum to listen to our keynote speaker Daniel Nowack (Yunus Social Business) present on the topics of public welfare economics, cradle to cradle (c2c), employee involvement, and sustainability management at Scholz & Volkmer.

Our aim was to get involved in the general conversation about sustainability, to signal our commitment to sustainability so that it's recognized internally, and to establish regional contacts in order to learn and exchange ideas together. We here in the organizational team were very happy to receive the positive feedback and animated discussions that came from the event. Our plan is to hold two more Meetups this year.

In addition to our networking activities, we looked at various options for external support so that moving forward we can also present an official record of our sustainability management. We considered collaborating with Ökoprofit, the German Sustainability Code (DNK), and Gemeinwohl-Bilanz, and at the beginning of the year, we made a firm commitment to Ökoprofit. We're looking forward to participating in the network together with other companies in the region. With eight days of workshops and four on-site consulting sessions starting in May**, we'll have the opportunity to put our corporate environmental management skills to the test, notably in areas such as energy or waste disposal.

Here are a few photos from the Conscious Management and Sustainability Meetup on February 5, 2020:

Sustainable choices that affect your team and everyday life

Sustainability has become a serious business! The gravity of the issue became increasingly clear as we couldn't help notice our colleagues continued adding new topics (almost daily!) that each scream for attention in our "Sustainability" Google chat room. Here are some examples:

"Why don't we buy tea, cereal and so on at the convenience store?" - "Oh yes, we should definitely go for it!"

"Domestic flights are unnecessary and wasteful. We need a ban, or at least a compensation plan, if nothing else." - "Definitely. We'll talk to the people concerned."

"So, we really need vegan food on the menu more than once a week." - "We're on it."

As you can see there's a lot to do! And, of course, we'd love to spend all our time looking at internal improvement options and putting ideas into action. However, as is the case with any new "project", we're also busy organizing ourselves as a team. We're tasked with establishing the strategic orientation of sustainability within the company, establishing contacts with other experts and interested parties, and continuing to look for external support - and all of this while working on a team where our members are employed by different departments - such as designers, developers, agile coaches, and others - outside of our sustainability task force.

At the moment we more or less have a permanent team of eight people who put as much of their hearts and soul into their role on the team as their schedules will allow. We meet face-to-face once every two weeks and communicate in chat to check off our to-do lists.

Recently, we've been trying to structure our meetings using a "theme market" page in Confluence, which we can each fill out between meetings. There's also another page which has an overview of all ideas from the company, showing us what's already in the works and what's still in the idea stage. Moving forward; we plan to switch to a Jira board for our internal organization, but we're going to wait and grow our little project into a project management tool like Jira.

Even with all of the motivation that our team brings us, it's also important to have the support of our colleagues from outside the project. At the beginning of the year, we spoke with several stakeholders from various departments - including management - about how we can be even more committed to the topic. Since then, we've been even more stable, we've published a sustainability section on our project's intranet, and we've been reporting on current developments in our microblog.

At the moment our greatest challenge is that every one of us has to split our focus between our other work as specialists and the sustainability project. Additionally, we must continue learning how to best absorb and process the flow of ideas from within the company. We'd also benefit from investing time and energy into further developing our internal communication, as we still expect feedback from our colleagues about the usefulness of our activities.

What's coming up next?

A lot of what is coming next is both expected and unexpected, to say the least. Our Eco-profit program is scheduled to start in May. In April we want to start preparing for the second Meetup, which is set for early summer, probably in June**. Registrations will be handled by the Meetup group Conscious Capitalism: Sustainable and Conscious Companies, the same as last time. At the moment it looks like we'll be choosing another one of our outstanding external support options this year in order to make even more effective progress.

**Note: Due to the current situation with Covid-19, our planned events are subject to change. Please stay up to date by following our Seibert Media events calendar by clicking here.

Until the next update, we look forward to any opportunities to share our experiences on this journey towards sustainability, especially learning from those who have been on the journey for some time!

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Further information

Conscious capitalism: Can capitalism be conscious?
Shared software: How to make remote workers into a team
European Conscious Capitalism Conference on September 23 in Berlin: New ways to do business
Urban Gardening at //SEIBERT/MEDIA: Results from the summer harvest 2018

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