The V&A Waterfront, with 24 million visitors per year, is a key partner in South Africa’s tourism industry, as well as being a leading retail, commercial, residential and marine services organisation. The V&A has a well-established sustainability programme and has recently adopted a shared value ecosystem approach as its strategy. However, progressing further on this sustainability journey required the V&A to consider a more integrated approach. 

Trialogue has developed a proprietary integrated sustainability thinking framework, built on five pillars and sub-pillars (expressed as indicators) to assist organisations with integrated thinking around sustainability. The five pillars on which the Trialogue framework is based are: sustainability ambition, leadership and governance, systems and processes, performance metrics and monitoring, and communication and messaging. An Excel-based assessment tool uses integrated annual reports, available documentation and interviews with relevant staff to evaluate an organisation’s level of integrated sustainability thinking. Content is evaluated against the integrated thinking principles and their indicators. Each indicator is rated on a five-point scale according to the level of company performance. 

The V&A engaged Trialogue to assess their level of integrated sustainability thinking using the assessment tool. Trialogue conducted a desktop review as well as in-depth interviews with key members of the management team. The five pillars were rated and support for these ratings detailed. The V&A achieved a good rating, which highlighted the extent to which the organisation prioritised implementation over communication. The adoption of a shared value strategy also positively affected the ratings. While acknowledging the positive ratings, the assessment also identified several actions that would further improve the sustainability integration process. Trialogue presented the results to the client, highlighting and framing the initiatives that would advance the integrated sustainability journey. The presentation resonated with the V&A team and the suggested initiatives from the assessment were well supported. 

 “Our sustainability committee had been grappling with thinking about sustainability and integrated reporting and we needed a establish common understanding for this across the organisation. The experience that Trialogue brought into the assessment process was important and they we able to deeply interrogate our thinking and objectives. When Trialogue presented their findings, around the room there was a collective sense that it has correctly identified gaps and given us insight into what was happening across the entire business. Not only have they made good and clear suggestions which will help us on our sustainability journey going forward but we are now in a position to create a framework to use in achieving our goals.” Donald Kau, Head: PR & Communications, V&A Waterfront