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to sustainable development and will help to pinpoint areas that need to be addressed. At this stage of discussions as many stakehold- ers as possible from should be involved. This process must be driven by top management fol- lowing their own declared princi- ples for sustainable development. It is this open discussion that will build a 360-degree view of the organisation as it stands and establish where improvement can be implemented. If this alignment stage is carried out effectively and strategically, the organisation will be on course to successfully embed sustainable development in every area of its business. This is demonstrated in the work of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH). The CIEH is a regis- tered charity providing a voice for environmental health profes- sionals. It sets standards; provides guidance; accredits courses and qualifications

for the education

of its members and other public and environmental health prac- titioners; as well as advocating for more effective public policy and providing commercial goods and services that improve public and environmental health. The management board of the CIEH

decided to put a sustainable devel- opment system in place to help future-proof the organisation. CIEH has worked to achieve certification to NQA’s Sustainable


Management Scheme (SDMS). It has used the sustainable devel- opment framework provided to show its members and other stakeholders where the organisa- tion is going and how it could add value to the professional lives of its members. The CIEH has a particular emphasis on cultural change and has determined why and how SDMS could be used in this respect. It has completed its first assessment against the NQA scheme and this has proved that the standard can be a vital tool in a corporate change strategy. Once the CIEH were certain that going for the certified scheme was right for the organisation, they created an internal stake- holder group to look at the key principles of the standard and how best to re-communicate them to all stakeholders in a way that would be relevant to their working lives. They then held working sessions focusing on key sustainability principles using a matrix format laid out in the standard, this process ensured the

organisation’s alignment with the scheme and with the organisa- tion’s own declared principles of sustainable development. “Environmental health and the work of CIEH has always been about sustainable develop- ment long before the term was in vogue,” says CIEH chief executive Graham Jukes. “One example of that was the vision- ary report of the Environmental Health Commission, Agendas for Change, published in 1997. By deciding to participate in this pilot process and by looking at the organisation through the lens of BS8900 we have ensured that the organisation moves forward in a truly sustainable way. This has clear business benefits, not to mention the credibility we believe working to and within the spirit of this standard brings.”

By signing up to the rigours of NQA SDMS the management of the CIEH are certain that it has helped them to synergise their programme of cultural change and to address it in a strategic and carefully managed way.

Neil Rotheroe is manager of sustainability and corporate responsibility at NQA >

Sustainable Business | February 2011 | 31

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