To really understand our sustainability impact and how to improve our overall business, it’s crucial to identify the nitty gritty of our business units. This was the overwhelming task carried out by the sustainability task force in 2021.
“Practically, we asked all St1’s business units to list their activities and identify all that could have the hash tag sustainability,” explains Sustainability Specialist Ragna Sørlundsengen. She was given the lead of the sustainability task force, fresh out of university and working on her master’s thesis on “Socially just energy transition.”
St1 had the privilege to participate in the UN Global Compact SDG Ambition program in early 2021, and all the knowledge gained from that was harvested for the St1 sustainability task force. “There is no template for how to integrate an international framework into a company with our size and complex value chain. We had very high-level guidelines, but the practical steps we had to invent from scratch. However, we have high ambitions and a willingness to really make a difference in all our business units,” says Sørlundsengen.
“Our aim is to become a forerunner in our industry, showing how to transform our value chain into a more sustainable one. We wish to integrate sustainability into our core—where the business happens, and create value for us, our customers, and partners.”
Sørlundsengen explains that the purpose of the sustainability task force is to create an understanding and transparency in how to integrate sustainability into business unit strategies and identify what needs to be further developed. We developed a framework, based on the UN Global Compact, to prioritize our activities and track our progress.
“We have been working in sprints on three different packages to solve the challenges we identified. First, we started with transparency and overview. In the second sprint we aimed at defining the actions for progress before we proceeded with building a roadmap on how to approach the findings and how to improve. In the third sprint, in this first phase, we focus on governance and how we make progress with tracking and reporting,” Sørlundsengen describes.
How do you experience the feedback from the organization on this huge project?
“In the beginning, we struggled to find rational ways to start tackling the challenge, especially since all our business units differ from each other and are very much at different phases. However, we now have a better understanding of each unit and how their assessing and prioritizing efforts can contribute to reaching our sustainability goals going forward.”
During 2021, members from all business units were integrated into the sustainability task force. The utmost goal of this work has been to understand how we as an organization are able to integrate measurable and ambitious sustainability targets into our daily operations. The work is nowhere near finished but going forward we will be able to track and monitor our progress on concrete goals and objectives supporting the UN Global Compact in a transparent and constructive way.
“I am incredibly happy to see that we have been able to establish a collective understanding of why this project was needed and how this contributes to our everyday business. We aim to be best in class, and we see an increasing demand to document our efforts in a structured way going forward, for example, in financing. I truly believe this new framework and tracking opportunities will bring us closer to meeting the expectations of a company with a vision to be a game changer,” concludes Sørlundsengen.