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Setting and implementing ISMART sustainability pledges: what have we learnt in one year?

It’s been one year since we launched the Swiss Triple Impact Directory. Today, we celebrate more than 85 companies that have gone through our thorough pledge review process and that thereby contribute to the unique Directory of Swiss companies contributing to the SDGs. What have we as a team and the participants learnt on the journey about setting and implementing ISMART (impact-oriented, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound)?

After one year, we individually follow-up with each of our STI Directory Leaders and their published pledges in the Swiss Triple Impact Directory, tracking progress of intermediate or achieved goals, and of implemented measures or future actions. We are proud to count a total of 330 ISMART goals contributing to more transparency in the Swiss business landscape. 

5 Key Learnings from one year STI Directory

We would like to share a couple of learnings which we hope will be relevant to you, our dear STI community, wherever you stand on your STI pathway. Some of them might seem obvious or trivial to you. But believe us when we say that even the most organized and advanced companies sometimes loose track on how they want to achieve their goals:

1. Mid-term goals for clear responsibility

Mid- and long-term goals need intermediate targets planned in their action plans, at least every 2-3 years, to be able to track progress. This also helps understand what is key for the upcoming steps, and which corrective measures need to be addressed if some delay occurs. A delay of a couple of months according to valid contextual or business reasons isn’t a problem, as long as it is under the radar with back-up plans if the delay were any longer or out of hand by the final deadline. Mid-term goals ensure better accountability for your commitments.

2. Peer mentoring

This year, we started gathering our community for peer mentoring events – safe spaces to exchange on challenges and to leverage collective intelligence to find solutions. Be it on how to drive sustainability in the supply chain or how to develop circular products – the minds of 30 bright people who typically stand in front of the same challenges – usually come up with striking ideas on how to overcome roadblocks and how to take on the next steps. Contact us here to get the opportunity to profit from the created collective intelligence  as a Case Owner for our next Peer Mentoring session. 

3. C-Level commitment

CEOs and boards of directors play a central role in helping develop lasting solutions to solve the social and environmental issues we face. Signing the CEO Commitment letter is a mandatory step when taking STI pledges to commit one’s management and make it accountable for its decisions. Once C-level managers are involved in sustainability journeys, they often get more engaged along the way, trusting all the co-benefits have only just begun. Swiss companies need to commit their organizations to a high level of board accountability to achieve positive impact.

4. Using credible standards and ambitions

What has helped our community most when setting ISMART goals, is to align ambitions with existing standards and tools. One of the most used frameworks is the Science Based Targets initiative that helps companies set climate targets in line with the 1.5°C threshold of the Paris Agreement – for all the companies that have prioritized SDG 13 on Climate Action. This is a bit more difficult for social topics such as gender equality or equal opportunities. We note that the LGBTI Swiss label or Great Place to Work® certification were found most useful because they go beyond certifications: they not only offer recognized reference frameworks, but further tools and practical solutions for a healthier, happier and more inclusive workplace, with experts to support you along the way, as well as incentives for a continuous progress (which, by the way, increases the company’s performance).

5. Value chain challenges

Take Audemars Piguet’s Value Chain Activation pathway: the iconic high-end watchmaking brand engaged most of its suppliers to join the Swiss Triple Impact program. Such value chain engagements usually result in more collective actions. Collective actions and approaches are crucial for the effective implementation of supply or value chain commitments, where companies need to collaborate with their stakeholders to achieve a goal. Collective actions specific to a sustainability topic or a business sector are underway, bringing together clients, suppliers, order givers and sub-contractors to sit at a common table and have necessary conversations to define concrete next steps looking in the same direction. If it is your turn to initiate a collective action, please ask us for any support!


Finally, a heartfelt thank you to all our dear STI participants, and especially our inspiring STI Directory Leaders for their proactive contribution in the program, for their captivating exchanges about their field reality when taking sustainability commitments, and for their openness towards continuous improvement, within their organization and beyond. Let’s continue to accelerate the change together ! 🚀

If you have any questions, please contact Caroline Fourré

Want to be part of the STI community and commit to pledges that are in line with the Sustainable Development Goals?

Register here for one of the next dates of our

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