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Sustainable Security

Updated: Jan 28

A global paradigm shift in the expectations placed upon businesses, demands that they create long-term practices that protect the environment, the well being of employees and the prospects of future generations. They are expected to achieve this while continuing to generate profits, to research new practices, thereby driving innovation and to increase shareholder wealth. The security industry is also required to manage the ‘triple bottom line’, through effectively mitigating financial, social and environmental risks, obligations and opportunities. Rather than view this as burdensome, a business may arguably increase its levels of resilience through improving its economic, social and environmental connections. There are a number of ways that a business can respond to these macro considerations;

• Environmental Management Systems

ISO 14001 provides a framework that an organisation can follow, potentially alongside ISO 9001, to provide structures and processes that help embed environmental efficiency into a firm’s culture and to mitigate risks. By outlining and measuring the standards expected during security activities, ISO 14001 can help to improve the sustainability of day-to-day operations. In the long run, this can save money and improve the resilience of a company, improve employee engagement and brand reputation. The ISO 14001 standard provides guidance for appropriate methods to adopt, to improve efficiency, sustainability and to manage the impacts upon the environment of business components such as procurement, storage, distribution, product development, and manufacturing. It also adds value to the management processes for emergency response, approaches to managing customer expectations, stakeholders and your relationships with your local community.

• Effective Communication Strategies

Organisations benefit from engaging with all stakeholders; customers, employees and other external parties. This includes the communities they operate amongst. In order to be effective, this requires for the consideration of opposing views, effective negotiation and mutually satisfying agreements. High levels of confidence, which are often portrayed through charismatic behavior’s and may arguably be displayed within individuals that are experienced in working within high risk and dynamic environments, may provide individuals with an innate capacity to effectively communicate with others during such situations, particularly when the achievement of an objective requires a change of historical practice, in order to support improvements to levels of sustainability, or perhaps when communicating with indigenous populations or other external stakeholders. Shamir et al. (1993) suggest that such individuals may cite previous events, in order to encourage action. To support this, such individuals may provide detailed descriptions of a positive future image. In a similar fashion to charismatic leaders seen throughout history, both pious and nefarious, they articulate an ideological vision and recruit followers who may feel an affinity towards the vision. The targeting and cultivation of such individuals may be crucial to build and to maintain the momentum of change associated with the adoption of sustainable practices. The identification of segments of the community or within a stakeholder audience, who may be open to change, and importantly the selection of the right approach method to adopt, should be carried out early in the design of the communication strategy for a project or operation.

• Business Analysis

Businesses wanting to take a large leap forward should systematically analyze the environmental and social impact of the products they use and produce thorough life cycle analysis, which measures business impacts more accurately. Business analysis will determine where improvements can be made to improve sustainability, particularly in terms of energy usage and waste reduction. The plethora of research papers and reports that have been released by commercial organisations, to highlight the efforts they have made to become more sustainable, suggests that in addition to benefiting the reputations of security companies that champion such an approach, and thus act as exemplars of effective processes, security advisors and providers are in fact key business partners and industry leaders themselves, rather than solely external service providers. Sustainability can after all, potentially drive growth. In a world of increased transparency, customers demand that businesses act responsibly towards the environment and the people that live within it. High levels of sustainability may, in fact, provide a business with a competitive advantage.

• Reporting

The latter point regarding transparency suggests that it is imperative that businesses accurately monitor, record and practices related to sustainability. While firms within the security industry may freely provide examples of corporate social responsibility, they are not forthcoming with describing practices. Although the reasoning behind this decision, as within many professional specialisms, may be a case of ‘smoke and mirrors’, there are clearly sensitivity issues attached to reporting on all security practices. However, firms can still report on measures taken to improve sustainability, in relation to other elements of their business.


The increasing expectations placed upon commercial organisations will not reduce. With depleting levels of finite resources, increasing environmental concerns, the increased surveillance of corporate activities and the ever-morphing regulatory landscape, the pressures to consider how to manage the impacts of security operations in a greater level of detail than perhaps done previously, as well as improving operational effectiveness, will increase the complexity of the design of risk management activities and security solutions. Emerging Risks Global can provide the expertise to help you succeed, where others can’t.

Shamir, B., House, R.J. and Arthur, M.B., 1993. The motivational effects of charismatic leadership: A self-concept based theory. 4(4), pp.577-594.

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