What is a Maturity Matrix?
It sounds more complicated than it is, don't worry! It's essentially a way to see the progress of your commitment to sustainability in relation to four key areas, known as "sustainable development principles".
These principles are:
Using the Maturity Matrix Template below, you will identify how your organisation's approach to sustainability aligns to each of these values, and set guidelines so that you can see the changes over time. First, let's look at each of these principles in more depth to see what they mean. Whilst you read through, start to think about how they relate to your organisation's own values or commitments.
In the context of sustainability, integrity is making decisions and working in a way that aligns with your stated values. For example, if you have made a commitment to support local communities as part of your events, then you would be demonstrating integrity when you make a donation to a local charity or provide employment to local residents. You would be upholding your previously defined beliefs or promises. In simple terms, integrity could be described as "doing what you said you would do, in the way you said you would do it".
In common use, stewardship is taking care of or managing something - often something that is considered to be valuable - and in relation to sustainability we are talking about taking care of the planet, its people, and its resources (including the economy). Obviously you aren't being expected to single handedly care for the world, so what does stewardship mean in practical terms for you? In terms of your organisation's values and principles, stewardship could be demonstrated by providing a supportive working environment for your employees, or making choices that help others outside your own business. Even simple commitments such as only buying Fairtrade tea and coffee, or choosing organic food, contribute to a fairer and healthier world.
As sustainability becomes something that more customers demand or even expect, there is an increased risk of "greenwash" or untrue claims that are made about an organisation's sustainability credentials. Transparency is therefore important to move towards a truly sustainable world. Being open and honest about your challenges or mistakes, as well as your successes, can also be invaluable to supporting others and encouraging them to also take actions to become more sustainable. You can demonstrate transparency by sharing both internally and externally, through formal or informal reporting channels, whether it's via an in-depth document or a post on social media.
This fourth principle of sustainable development in many ways brings together the other principles of integrity, stewardship and transparency. Whether it's making commitments to people, taking care of them or being open to them about your progress, inclusivity means that all relevant stakeholders should be involved in the relevant areas of your organisation and its activities, with a particular focus on those who might otherwise be excluded. For example, when planning an event, how do you ensure that potential attendees are not missing out due to access restrictions, cultural factors or financial reasons? Initiatives such as providing reduced cost tickets to those on low incomes, for example, would demonstrate inclusivity.
Using the Maturity Matrix Template
In the Values column, list each of the values from your organisation that you think relate to each sustainable development principle. For example, two of our values here at Positive Impact are honesty and transparency, so they would fit within the Transparency sustainable development principle.
Once you've listed your values, use the next three columns to plan how you can demonstrate them. There are three levels to reflect that fact that you may just be getting started with your sustainability journey. You may wish to start at the Full Engagement option and work backwards. To do this, consider what would have to happen to be fully incorporating the sustainable development principles and your company values within every aspect of your business. Once you have a clear idea of what Full Involvement looks like, you can then work backwards to get closer to where you are now.
Using the Stewardship example above, Minimum Involvement might be buying Fairtrade tea and coffee, Improved Commitment could be more flexible working options for staff or schemes to improve employee wellbeing, with Full Engagement being demonstrated by regularly supporting a local charity or setting up a fund to provide financial assistance to environmental initiatives. The main thing to remember is that it's about what is important to you as an organisation, so the three levels of involvement should be based on your own priorities, and you can have more than one example of involvement for each value.
Remember to regularly review your progress. At Positive Impact we like to colour code to indicate where we are on the matrix, so once we have fully reached each level of involvement we will change that section to green.