8. April 2022
Julia Kriegel

2021 Review

Until 2020, sustainability was a rather internal process within VAST FORWARD. In our 100% remote structured organization, we‘ve been almost paperless from the start. We work without a company car , without commuting to an office and with very few on-site customer meetings. We also do not need any representative office space and the floating office of founder Maren runs self-sufficient in energy and water for more than 6 months per year.

Perhaps it is only natural, that the request to integrate sustainability in the core of our company values came from within our team: An internal employee survey in 2019 resulted in 6 sustainability principles, which have been our guiding principles since then – living mindfully, conserving resources, showing consideration, producing less waste, being a pioneer & impact investing. These principles form the basis of our sustainability strategy VAST GREEN, which we developed in the beginning of 2021, with the help of sustainability expert Alyssa Jade McDonald-Bärtl, giving us Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) to work on for the years 2021-2022.

Now, December 2021: One year has passed and we like to look back at our VAST GREEN key learnings and on the successes.

We are proud of what we have achieved in 2021 and we‘re looking forward to another, „greener“ year full of change and positive contribution to global climate transformation. "Let's Go VAST GREEN“! Julia

VAST GREEN, the implementation of our sustainability strategy, has been a team effort since the beginning – Since day 1, the VAST FORWARD project management team has been firmly involved in the implementation process, since the VAST GREEN method is not only based on scientific findings – it is  also a collaborative and transformative approach, following the motto “We Do Not Just Compensate”.

When VAST GREEN was presented as a strategy and formulated in OKRs, it quickly became clear that we would need external expertise to get started: our resources in the daily project business and our knowledge on sustainability and change management would not be sufficient to handle the VAST GREEN project on our own. Hence, since mid-2021, we are now accompanied by Tanja who focuses on the “methodology”, Andrea supporting stakeholder management and Veronique for change management. They are the external VAST GREEN team and strengthen the team as experts on our journey. Julia, a permanent member of the team, and Sustainability Manager since September 2021, represents the link between the internal and external VAST GREEN teams and, as Product Owner for VAST GREEN, keeps an overview of the implementation process.

Today, in December 2021, we already have three complete sprints behind us. We have examined our supply chain(s) with the help of an as-is analysis and created and prioritised criteria. On this basis, we can measure and evaluate our own process chains, but also our suppliers, customers and network service providers from creation and programming.

As a basis for the inclusion and questioning of all these relationships, we investigated a variety of ways of addressing them and developed a short questionnaire with which we will integrate our stakeholders into our project at the beginning of 2022.

In line with the German Supply Chain Act, a key factor in any sustainability initiative is transparency, ideally through regular reporting. Here, too, there are no requirements for companies of VAST FORWARD’s size. For us as a digital company, it made sense to set up a dedicated VAST GREEN website for our initiative. It serves as our central information and reporting tool, with which we have transparently shared our approach in numerous blog posts over the past months.

Now, at the end of the year, it is also apparent that the team effort of the last quarter can celebrate presentable successes, as we have been accepted as a member of the Bund für Nachhaltige Wirtschaft (BNW), among others. Preliminary work in the team, the strategy, our framework, the way we work and last but not least the data collected and lifted so far show us that we are on the right track with our VAST GREEN initiative.

Of course, this review is an interim status, because we also have a lot planned for the coming year: The team will continue to play a decisive and active role in the VAST GREEN Journey, transparently communicate the transformative changes to the outside world and share our story via website and social media channels. And we want to share our method with other SMEs and support entrepreneurs and teams on their journey to sustainability, regardless of company size – because the journey from idea to implementation can be a long and time-consuming process.

We are proud of what we have achieved in 2021 and we look forward to another greener year of change and positive contribution to global climate transformation. In that spirit, “Let’s Go VAST GREEN”!

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