Introducing SustainAbilities 2.0


Interserve is at its heart a people business.

We use our skills to design, build and manage buildings and services that are used by thousands of people. And we live and work in diverse communities.


Over the past decade, sustainability has evolved beyond merely environmental concerns to include social sustainability in response the fast changing world we now live in. Since we launched our SustainAbilities plan in 2013 we’ve witnessed changes that affect the world we operate in – the signing of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, the advent of Brexit plus many more political and economic shocks. During this period we have also seen major changes in our own business operations. We acquired Initial (FM), Paragon (construction and fit-out) and ESG (skills) while our Equipment Services division expanded into the ground-shoring market and we rolled-out facilities management services in the Middle East. On top of all this we’ve expanded our citizen services offering into the justice, learning and employment and healthcare sectors.

If we are to be socially sustainable that means taking care of our colleagues, making improvements to communities that we touch through our work, and delivering not just excellent service to customers, but also doing it responsibly and ethically. You can find more about this in our blog ‘It’s about people, stupid!’.

When we started our review of our SustainAbilities plan, we involved hundreds of people across the business who have been delivering our plan since 2013. We’ve drawn on our experience and what it really means to deliver on the targets we set ourselves, and we’ve realised that we need to prioritise a smaller set of key issues to deliver meaningful change. We continue to set ourselves what we call ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goals’ and have revised those which have turned out to be beyond our control, or which are no longer relevant to our business today, so we can focus our attention towards areas where we have more contribution to make.


  • We’ve simplified it. There are fewer goals. 30 per cent less in fact.
  • There are 10 goals, two for each of our five outcomes.
  • Our new goals are more targeted to our customers, our communities and our colleagues.
  • We’ve set ourselves some new and challenging aspirations.
  • We have 10 short term actions (by 2020), and five long term actions (by 2025) to work towards.
  • Our actions include support for our workforce, and engaging with people and groups outside our business.
  • We’ve moved from absolute to relative targets (that means they’re now proportionate to our size.)
  • Our plan is more streamlined, but we don’t want to stop the good work we’re already doing. There is more flexibility for our teams to focus on what matters to them.


There are so many different people doing different things across our business. We’ve recognised that our plan has to provide the freedom for our teams to focus on what matters to them, their people and their customers while providing a framework to work to common goals.

When it comes to sustainability, you need to get the basics right and then pick the areas where you have the ability to make a real difference – big or small.

As English comedian and actor Paul Shane Spear said, “As one person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person.”

So that’s what we want everyone to do…

Talk SustainAbilities

Join us to read, watch, comment on and share key issues of sustainability