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Sustainable development

We spoke to Sofie about how Incept has changed the game when it comes to sustainability training; offering the corporate world the training it not only wants, but needs.

Sustainable development

Once upon a time, corporate sustainability was more about paying lip service than taking responsibility. But as concerns have grown over climate change and pollution in the past two decades, we’ve seen real, positive change – both in consumer shopping habits, and in the commitments that brands are making to sustainability.

For Sofie, one-third of the Incept Sustainability founding team, influencing how corporate sustainability works in organizations today and tomorrow, is the driving force behind their innovative training tool – a tool that combines E-learning with employee surveying and idea collation.
 
For GPA, innovation has been key to our sustainable development. So it was only fitting that our entire team had access to the most innovative sustainability training out there.

We spoke to Sofie about how Incept has changed the game when it comes to sustainability training; offering the corporate world the training it not only wants, but needs.
 
Thanks for speaking to us Sofie! So tell me, how did Incept Sustainability come into being and why did you develop an E-learning tool?
 
It’s great to speak to you! So, the journey started back in 2018. At the time I was interning at a start-up in Stockholm. The company started a team-building exercise where employees were invited to present internally on a topic that interested them.
 
Being passionate about sustainability, I took no time getting to work on my presentation.
 
The reaction was as encouraging as it was shocking.
 
I was amazed that the sustainability angle had hardly been explored in a company full of potential – but I guess, when you’re in the sustainability bubble, it’s very hard to see outside of it.  
 
Nonetheless, a lot of discussion was sparked afterwards, with input coming from such varied places within the company – allowing me to see nuances I hadn’t before.
 
I knew that the gaps in people’s knowledge was a real red flag – feeling compelled to do something, I contacted Katherine and our journey began. Shortly after, Alexa came on board and Incept Sustainability was born.
 
In the beginning, we had intended to run the tool exclusively as a training program – a training program that sought to provide respondents with direct impetus to operate more sustainably.”  
 
For instance, instead of testing people solely on what they know about Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the questions we pose delve deeper – exploring how motivated respondents are to work with SDGs, while also allowing them to discuss what obstacles are preventing their organisation from fully embracing them into their sustainability strategies.
 
It was just before the first pilot that Alexa said: “why don’t we study the answers from activity questions afterwards? I think there might be a lot to learn” – and she was right. From this, we started to actively combine the training and the surveying, creating an unprecedented type of training!
 
With a pool of feedback, we could then provide an analytics service, allowing companies to build a two-way communication around sustainability.”
 
I think that’s what makes the Incept process so unique, tell me more about the process after the training is completed.
 
Typically E-learning is a linear process, one which is generally limited to several hours. And when it’s done, its done, without you being able to comprehensively gauge how effective the training was.
 
With Incept you can take training further off the back of all the feedback and ideas, while also being able to benchmark yourselves through our analytics.

Sustainable development

Essentially meaning you can pinpoint exactly where more attention needs to be directed.
 
That’s so important! For GPA, it was a must that every member of our team had access to this same, ground-breaking training. So, considering the current environmental crisis we’re living through, how important is it that every employee gets access to the same training?
 
I think it’s essential. But it goes beyond training of course because without action, training is pointless. 
 
You see it so often – large organizations with a Corporate Social Responsibility team, of let’s say, five or six people, max! That team is then dealing with a huge task. 
 
So, sustainability really must be part of everyone’s job – it’s a universal issue, so the response must be also. 
 
That’s also why continued training is so important, training that not just informs, but engages.”
 
Absolutely! I think that’s such an important sentiment. Especially as eyes are very much focused on the corporate world, in terms of driving change. Do you think it’s essential then that companies embed sustainability into every aspect of their operations?
 
What we need to see is large scale corporate change, and fast. But this can only be achieved if sustainability is embraced by all.”
 
When 50% of all change projects fail, it’s essential sustainability change projects don’t, because we simply can’t afford to let them.”
 
I couldn’t agree more. So what’s the end goal for Incept Sustainability? And what impact would you like it to have long term?
 
On the most basic level, I just want to have engaged as many people as possible. But as a tool, we don’t want to stop where we are.
 
While getting feedback is essential, it’s vital that companies act on that feedback. So long-term, we would ideally want to be supporting the organizations we work with on their journey. So that it’s as easy as possible for them to follow-up on the challenges and opportunities raised through the feedback, while continuing to provide additional training and guidance to further their sustainable development.”

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