Sustainability Survey 2021 Report highlights worrying gap between intent and action


  • Sustainability

15 September 2021

‘… there appears to be lacking a holistic, long-term approach in organisations to determining and delivering the outcomes that meaningful sustainability action requires. Concerted action is needed to deliver in this area and for our members consistently to be in a position to deliver on the role they are best placed to take.’ 

The day after the IWFM Conference discussed the scale of the challenge to tackle climate change and with little over a month until the most critical climate conference in a generation, this warning represents a key finding from the latest IWFM Sustainability Survey 2021 in partnership with Inenco, which is available now to download (free for members). 

Download the report here. 

Over 310 workplace and facilities management professionals responded to the Survey, providing a continued benchmark of perceptions on organisational sustainability performance, governance, reporting and priorities. This year’s Survey also focused on what we consider to be three of the most dominating issues for our profession: the return to the workplace, net zero targets, and skills and capability. 

The Report’s findings often appear to paint a positive picture of the state of the sustainability agenda; for example, 95% of respondents believed that sustainability was important or very important to their organisation, while nine in 10 end user respondents felt their organisations had an adequate or better understanding of sustainability and the same proportion of service providers felt their clients did.  

However, the levels of intent and awareness are not matched by specific targets and action plans. For example, while almost nine in 10 respondents felt upskilling was necessary, this was not matched by the percentage of respondents who planned on upskilling in the next year. This, along with other findings in the Report, highlights a worrying gap between intent and action which will hinder already delayed attempts to stall climate change. 

IWFM Chief Executive Linda Hausmanis said of the Report’s findings: 

‘Human activity is changing our climate and each week the gravity of the existential threat grows more alarming. If we are to save humanity from itself, we - the Institute, our profession and sustainability experts - must work together and act urgently to close the intent-action gap evidenced in this Report. 

‘Workplace and facilities managers are the lynchpin to drive sustainability outcomes in organisations; empowering facilities professionals to be agents for change is the only way to realise the results we urgently need. IWFM invites anyone wanting to help close the intent–action gap to get in touch and join forces with us before it is too late.’ 

If you are interested in working with IWFM on closing the sustainability intent-action gap, please contact: