· Features

We must make business more sustainable

To thrive long-term, businesses must work to become more sustainable

By 2050 there will be nine billion people on Earth, requiring three times the planet’s resources at our current consumption rates. By facing up to the sustainability challenge now we can future-proof our businesses for the resource and climate-constrained world of tomorrow.

The environment often only makes headline news in the context of extreme events. So it is understandable that some companies do not recognise the sustainability challenges they face, let alone the need to invest in environmental skills to embed a culture of innovation and long-term thinking.

Jaguar Land Rover’s ambition is to achieve long-term responsible growth through environmental innovation. This means placing sustainability at the heart of our business strategy, reducing the overall environmental effect of our products and operations, and making a positive impact on society.

We believe that the success of our global business – and the UK economy – lies in design, leadership, technical innovation, and engineering excellence, underpinned by environmental innovation. We are committed to investing in sustainability and environmental skills to achieve long-term success.

We supported the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment’s Preparing for the Perfect Storm campaign, which highlighted the need for companies to invest in sustainability and environment skills. HR plays a vital role in ensuring we have the right people in place to meet our sustainability ambitions.

Sustainability and HR colleagues work together to deliver sustainability training. As a result, sustainability is part of our employee induction and we’ve developed training programmes to support learning at all levels.

Our engineers are participating in the Advanced Skills Accreditation Scheme to strengthen their technical skills. More than 2,500 engineers have spent 500,000 hours at universities studying masters-level modules on subjects including hybrid vehicles, sustainable design and light-weighting.

Our Advance Leadership Programme for future senior managers aims to build and embed innovative thinking, and deliver better collaboration and increased speed of execution. The programme challenges leaders to manage hypothetical environment-related scenarios as board members in 2020. This disrupts traditional thinking and raises awareness of global megatrends and how they will impact our business in the future.

We ran a programme with the Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership for 100 directors and managers from across the company. This fuelled passion, engagement and collaboration around innovation, which will benefit our customers and the planet.

Developing sustainable products and services that meet the needs of customers is vital for lasting success. For example, we recently invested £500 million in our Solihull plant for manufacturing the new Jaguar XE, which emits CO2 emissions as low as 99g per kilometre.

Investing in sustainability skills, products and services will therefore not only help businesses thrive over the long term, it will also make work more rewarding for employees who take pride in helping achieve a truly sustainable future.

Mike Wright is executive director at Jaguar Land Rover