Hack Your Way To A Sustainable Future

Sustainability used to be all about compliance, minimising negative impacts and risk, and maybe running some CSR projects on the side. In those (not too distant past days) it made sense for one department to own the topic and to be responsible for the results. But times have changed. 2022 is a year for sustainability action and igniting the power of integration is how you will be able to leverage your organisation to drive sustainable change. 

At Spotify, we’re focused on maximising our positive impact and making sure that our entire business is run in a sustainable way, and therefore there’s a need for a new approach. To create real impact and drive change, within and outside of your organisation, sustainability needs to be an integrated part of your business. 

Instead of depending on the sustainability or HR team to come up with all the ideas to leverage your business to drive sustainable change, seek to use all the creativity in your company. Last week at Spotify we tried out a new way of doing just that. 

Unleash Creativity: Hack Week 2022 – Making the Planet Cooler

Each year, all Spotifers are invited to take part in our ‘Hack Week’ where they can dedicate the week to working on something completely different from their day to day. 2022’s Hack Week took place this month with a climate theme! 

From Monday to Friday teams worked together to ideate, experiment, test, and build. More than 2,400 Spotifiers signed up to hack on ideas ranging from building solar-powered devices, helping artists manage their CO2 emissions, to hacks showcasing the climate impact of cloud usage, and everything in between. Many of these hacks have great potential in reducing our carbon emissions as well as using our platform to drive change. And even though Hack Week is over for this period, we will continue to explore the ideas with some of them becoming ‘business as usual’. A Climate Hack Week is a great way to unleash creativity and get many new ideas. It’s also a way to highlight that climate action can be taken in many different ways and often in your daily job, it doesn’t have to be something you do on the side. 

Tips for Integrating Sustainability

Not everyone has the luxury of an annual Hack Week, and this idea of integrating sustainability throughout your business can definitely be easier said than done, and will definitely not be done in a week. So here are a few things to consider on your journey toward integration:

  • Strong on the ‘What’ and the ‘Why’

To enable your business to drive change in the right direction, it needs to be clear to everyone what you’re aiming for and, maybe even more importantly, why. If the ‘why’ and ‘what’ are clear enough, the organisation can work out the how. If you are used to running the show yourself this might be a bit daunting since it also means letting go of the control. 

By holding back on the ‘what’, or not giving specific directions, you can drive impact at scale. In fact, we’d dare to say it’s the only way you will be able to drive impact at scale.

  • Global Strategy With Room for Local Adaptation 

If you are a global company, your sustainability strategy needs to be global too. To maximise the impact, you should think about uniting your company’s efforts. Therefore, your strategy should focus on global challenges that are relevant to your business and your stakeholders. However, to engage your employees and customers and to find the most efficient ways of driving change in a particular context, your strategy also needs to leave room for local adaptation. 

  • Educate, Inform, Engage 

You have a company full of bright minds, but they are most likely not sustainability experts. And they shouldn’t be! However, you want to make sure that they all have basic knowledge about the challenges you are aiming to address, so make sure to educate your employees, inform them about your current efforts, and inspire them to take action. 

  • Set the Data Free 

For people in your organisation to act on sustainability and integrate it into their daily work, they will also need company-specific facts. And when it comes to data, less is not necessarily more. Remember, you might not be the best judge of what data is meaningful in a certain context. Share as much sustainability data and information as possible and let the people decide what is important for their work.

Whether you have a Hack Week or not, integrating sustainability across your company in goals, processes, follow up and decision-making will not happen overnight, so be mindful that it will take time. We are not there yet, but we know it’s the way to go to maximise our positive impact. 

There may be phases that seem frustratingly slow, but laying the groundwork for deeper integration means greater impact in the long term, which is an essential ingredient to success in this increasingly important subject. We are not there yet, but we know it’s the way to go to maximise our positive impact. 

2022 is a year of action, and keep the long term impact top of mind.

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