Personal Sustainability Challenge: Community Development Management System Guidance for Business

As I recall, writing some time ago (Workshop 1) and interacting with a few of you during the Peer Coaching session we had one day, I gave myself a task / challenge related to the work I do with DNV GL.  In our consulting work (which also includes a range of services such as training, facilitation, audit, assessments, ratings, and benchmarking), we typically work with organisations who seek our assistance in establishing, documenting, improving, maintaining (sustaining??), reviewing, and/or improving their management system.

We usually start from a health, safety (occupational), and environmental view, but over the years we now include security and process safety as additional considerations.  Of course, this is essentially ‘scoping’ the work, but most organisations include all of the above in the scope of work nowadays.  This has proven to be a very practical, useful, and value-adding business model / approach for both the customer and for us (from a revenue and reputation generating perspective), as it helps organisations identify and implement the solutions they are looking for.

However, the traditional field of HSE, and even with its additions more recently of security and process safety, still requires continual improvement, new ideas, new additions, to give ‘life’ to the business and keep the existing customer base, while also trying to attract new customers.  As such, there is a fairly strong initiative in my organization to expand, enhance, and enlarge our services to more match the overall field of sustainability.  ‘Sustainability’ here includes both the sustainability of a customer’s business and the sustainability of the planet, which includes those external aspects with the potential to affect a customer organisation.

As part of this picture, I have taken an interest in focusing on the community development aspects of the sustainable development / sustainability picture.  Where I work in Indonesia / SE Asia (primarily), I experience an increasing need for organisations (customers or not) to pay more attention to the communities that surround their operations and the communities which they serve – which may be the same or different depending on the context.  I / we see that developing guidance for how to establish community development management systems as something innovative, something new that has not been formalized into a practical format for industry.  There is a need here for this – community development (‘CD’) is not typically the core business of an organization, but it is increasingly consuming their attention as organisations realize the benefits of securing a social license to operate and/or proactively creating a ‘living fence’ around their premises because they have good CSR programs and the surrounding communities help guarantee their security as a result.  We foresee this becoming even more important in the region.  Countries like Indonesia are starting to legislate this, and therefore this becomes a driver.  This legislation is also now explicitly tied to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals in Indonesia, whereby organisations must report on which of their efforts are tied to which specific SDGs!

So, in future blogs, and to continue this story / challenge, I hope to report on our progress here, and my contribution to it.  Yes, it’s a challenge, but I am confident it can be done.  There are enabling factors and more will come to support this if the current trends continue.  More soon….

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