Building Capabilities

Transforming and Building Organisational Capabilities for Sustainability

The crises we face today require Irish business to undergo major change as we transform to a low carbon and inclusive society. Building blocks need to be put in place to address what has been referred to as the “structural deficit” in terms of organisational capabilities for sustainability. This deficit requires awareness, functional skills, attitudinal and behavioural change, and can only be comprehensively addressed by a shift in mindset and a “reimagining” of how business creates financial and non-financial value.

The Building Capabilities sub-group, was formed in 2018 in response to the needs of Irish business, to ensure that workers remain at the heart of any transformation.

This was seen as a responsible business response to the challenges of digitalisation and the gig-economy, which have changed how we work.

The sub-group has since responded proactively to changes that have implications for workers:

  • The Learning and Development Paper written before the COVID-19 pandemic, outlined trends and recommendations on the learning and career development needs of workers to thrive in an adaptive economy, and addresses the responsibilities of businesses.
  • In response to the immediate impact of the pandemic, the sub-group turned its focus to address changes brought about by the first wave, and delivered a reflection on transitions to the “next normal” in The Shaping the Future of Work paper. 

In 2021, the sub-group shifted focus to address organisational capabilities for sustainability across business in general.

The sub-group identified three building blocks that would need to be developed to help address the skills gap for sustainability.

  • Sustainability Handbook: Developed as a practical resource for sustainability practitioners, the Handbook is structured in line with the EESG framework. It contains descriptors for each EESG heading, practical guidance in setting goals and targets, and examples of best practice. Download the handbook now.
  • Sustainability Capabilities Diagnostic: An innovative research & development project under the Leaders Group which takes a collaborative approach to developing a “Diagnostic Tool” for capabilities required for sustainability roles, based on adapting the European Commission’s competence framework.
  • Leadership for Sustainability: Workshops delivered by BITCI advisers on “Accelerators for Change”, informed through our State of the Nation Research, with a facilitated leadership conversation.

The sub-group is chaired by Northern Trust and BT Ireland with the following member companies in the core working group – Accenture, BT Ireland, AIB, and with academic partners Maynooth University and the Centre for Business and Society, UCD. The group is supported by a wide team from BITCI Advisory Services.

For more information on Building Capabilities, or to contribute to our work in this area, contact Marian Curry