To make good use of the 4 principles and backcasting we have created the ABCD process to guide you through every step of your journey. The most unique thing about this ABCD process is that you can use it to design a sustainable neighborhood, but also a sustainable pen. It is scalable…
The steps explained
A: Ambition and attention
Attention: teach everyone the same scientifically based language for sustainability and ensure a shared understanding.
Ambition: Describe your end goal; what do you want to achieve with your organization or your project? You develop a powerful vision and inspiring strategic goals for your project or entire organization with all those involved.
B: Base Line
What is your base line? Where are you today in relation to what you want to achieve?
Analyze “today”. Measure what you use, produce and consume, make visible how much material you have in your control, see which changes are working well, what knowledge does your staff have. What talents do you need? Identify everything that helps or hinders you on your way to your sustainability vision. Be sure to check who already has similar experiences, collaborate with them. You can see this step as your starting point.
C: Creative ideas
How do we get to where we need to be from where we are today? Thanks to steps A and B, you see the (sometimes very large) gap between where you want to go and where you are today. We use the C-step to create ideas to bridge that gap. You need to bring in all perspectives and knowledge from your stakeholders : you can organise creative sessions to come up with ideas. Involve, inspire, share and learn with others. Together you will come up with the best ideas to get from B to A. Especially invite the unusual suspects / new thinkers, unexpected people who come up with unexpected ideas. Because if you always work with the same people, the chance of ground breaking ideas is limited.
D: Down to Action
Time for a good dose of “reality”. We are now going to assess and plan all ideas over time. Determine what is feasible and when, think about how you will measure (choose indicators) and pour your ideas into short and medium-term plans. Attach names and numbers to these plans. In this step you also consider which tools (standards, labels, methodologies) you need. You should only choose tools that fit perfectly with your plans.
In step D, you research and prioritize all the ideas from step C.
When you have collected many ideas and strategies in step C, you can assess and prioritize them. We use the 3 Prioritizing Questions for this:
- Are we going in the right direction? Are we moving towards our goals and towards the 4 principles? In short; do we become more sustainable?
- Is it a flexible step, don’t get stuck if you are not taking the 100% sustainable step? Can we go another route mid-course if conditions change?
- Does it provide enough value for our organization? (e.g. turnover, continuity, real estate value, customer value, cost savings, communication, exemplary role, support, risk reduction)