Gemma Harris is back for Sustainability Musings; the step-by-step series. Today, we focus on the Heads of Department

This month’s step-by-step focuses on the management of sustainability, via the Heads of Departments (HOD’s). There is still a gap between those making sustainable changes onboard and those who don’t. This is where the HOD’s come in. 

There is a lot to juggle when running a department. From making sure everything runs smoothly, to managing individuals. Therefore, when it comes to ensuring you are also making sustainable decisions, these can sometimes get left behind. Moreover, the culture of sustainability onboard can be preached more than it is practiced. Recognising this and integrating sustainability into management can have a positive effect when making changes onboard. 

This step by step helps break down ways in which we can achieve sustainability via the Heads of Departments:


Every day is a school day 

Knowing how to create sustainable changes is one of the many barriers to improving. It is hard to integrate things when are you aren’t sure what you need to do. One thing you can do without any external help is to raise awareness of sustainability within your department. Subsequently, opening up the conversation on changing things onboard. Integrate sustainability into your weekly meetings and discussions. As a HOD you are the representative for your department so why not join the SEA club as an ambassador?  Show your commitment to running a more sustainable yacht as a result. 

Moreover, other things you can do to improve knowledge include: 

  • Educate and train your crew on sustainability initiatives onboard you are aware of
  • Include these initiatives in departmental handbooks and handover notes 
  • Lastly, look into external training, contact Seastainable for more information
sustainability via the heads of department


You can’t solve problems with the same thinking you used to create them

What mindset do you foster as a HOD? Are you thinking about sustainability enough as an individual? Do you practice what you preach? These are things to think about before trying to change anything onboard, you need to have the correct mindset to make change happen. A sustainable mindset is a set of beliefs, attitudes, and expectations about the world. It leads us to take actions using resources carefully, mindfully, and concerning social justice. 

Certainly, when thinking about the mindset it is important to understand sustainability within its three-dimensional concept: 

  • Economic. Recognise the need for a more circular economy within the industry. And, a regenerative system to eliminate waste and continual use of resources. 
  • Social. Understand the quality of relationships onboard between the crew. As well as the importance of crew wellness and recognise the reasons for crew retention and turnover. A socially efficient yacht enhances its social capital, the crew. 
  • Environment. Recognise how the yacht procures, uses, and disposes of materials, energy, and resources. An environmentally effective yacht operates to minimise resource use and pollution. 


Make changes today 

Remember that being sustainable is a long game. Therefore, when establishing changes onboard, do so with a long-term perspective. When making the changes, make them SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time frame) goals. As a HOD, allow all of your crew to get involved. It’s good for them to contribute ideas of things you can change and make those changes easy, to begin with. 

Leadership is about getting people to go where they wouldn’t have gone on their own. In terms of making actionable changes onboard here’s what you should do: 

  • Identify areas you want to change
  • Discuss and establish the sustainable values and standards for your department 
  • Plan to commit and engage in sustainable decision making 
  • Execute the changes onboard
  • Finally, maintain thorough tracking and record the changes you make.  This will allow you to make more sustainable goals and initiatives in the future

As Al Gore once quoted, there is a “growing need for leaders who take us far, fast.”

We hope to see more achievements in sustainability via the Heads of Departments!

For more information and resources, get in touch with Seastainable

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