What does a sustainable HUB look like?
10 April 2013 - Impact Hub

So we want to write a sustainability plan.  You might think, well how difficult can it be to crack out a few targets, change our electricity provider and write a fancy report?  Aren’t we a community of change-makers after all?
Well being change-makers, HUB Islington members know lasting change needs a big lump of engagement, a sprinkle of creativity, fresh direction and slow-cooked stamina to see it through.
So last month, once we’d worked out where we were starting from (enough baseline data), and got over the shock of discovering we use 350 baths of water per week (or a small lake), we put our heads together and did some sustainability visioning at Pitch and Pizza.
Visioning workshops are a great opportunity for members or employees to set the agenda for their organisation.  We used the session as a strategic tool to check whether the hosting team’s ideas are meaningful for members and crowdsource some new solutions and projects.
I led the workshop around the five capitals model of sustainability.  This is a big framework that helps organisations think about all the different stocks of benefit (environmental, social, economic, human and built) they use and create through their work.  The aim is to be contributing more than we take away from each of these five areas of capital.
We then did two rounds of brainstorming. First focusing on the resource that ultimately everything else needs- the environment- asking what “an exemplary sustainable HUB” would look like?
Then we broadened the brainstorm out to include the other dependent four dimensions of sustainability, asking “in ten years time, 2023, what will the HUB Islington look like if its thriving in its goals?”.
Overall I was relieved to hear members wanted action on many of the areas that the HUB has already begun work on including utilities, sourcing, waste, thought-leadership, cultivating the member eco-network and space retrofit.  But some great new foci were also proposed such as biodiversity, the sharing economy and food.
Taking guidance from members’ aspirations, we have since been able to choose 11 key action areas we think we can work on.  And we are excited to be able to share these with you in the spider diagram above for the first time!
Now we have our action areas, next steps will be unpacking what each of these areas will involve.  We’ll then try to choose realistic yet ambitious targets for each of our areas, and identify one or two areas where we think we can make a leading contribution.