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Six key lessons learned in creating our first Climate Action Plan

We recently completed our 18-month-long process of creating a climate action plan with over 85 of our team members. The process, while arduous, was incredibly rewarding and we want to share six of our biggest lessons learned to inspire you to create your own Climate Action Plan. 

Before we get into that though, let’s quickly talk about what a Climate Action Plan is and why we wanted one ourselves.

A Climate Action Plan (CAP) is a strategic roadmap for organizations or communities to tackle climate change. It outlines a series of actionable steps aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the inevitable effects of climate change.

To us, a plan like this wasn’t just an elective option but a vital necessity for the success of our sustainability goals. We don’t want to just lead the industry in how we approach climate change, but transform it from the inside out.

And to do that, we needed a robust plan, and a partner to lead us through the process. With the help of Verdis Group, a team of climate and sustainability planning experts, we are proud to finally launch our own CAP this week.


Here’s a breakdown of what we’ve learned along the way.

Do everything you can to foster collaboration and engagement

Getting staff from 90+ locations together to strategize our plan was no easy feat but we utilized every collaboration tool at our disposal to get the engagement of every stakeholder across the organization. Fortunately, we also had a great deal of enthusiasm from our teammates that pushed the process forward. It’s that desire to create something meaningful together that really started us off on the right track.

“Organizational engagement, both across sites and at different levels, ensures buy-in for your plan and the implementation that follows because "people support what they help create."—Wayne Warrington, Senior Associate, Verdis Group

Do get an expert to lead the process

We can’t stress this point enough, but we simply could not have done it without the help of our partners at Verdis Group. While we had the enthusiasm and the desire to create something meaningful, formalizing this process was crucial to producing a plan that all our teammates across the board felt comfortable with.  Further, Verdis not only provided sustainability and climate action expertise to the strategic planning process but also the facilitation of embedding SSA's internal subject matter experts. This synergy between Verdis Group's specialized knowledge and SSA’s deep understanding of our operations and culture resulted in a customized plan that resonates with all team members.

"The guidance and expertise of the Verdis Group were not just beneficial; they were foundational to the success of our Climate Action Plan. They truly helped us see the forest above the trees by asking the kind of questions that pushed us forward down a path that was informed, impactful, and aligned with our mission.” —Andrew Fischer, Vice President of Restorative Strategies, SSA Group

Don’t just ‘save the planet’ 

Many organizations have sustainability as a major vision for their business but few are creating clear and achievable goals to get to whatever that is. Guided by the expertise of Verdis Group, we identified specific, measurable objectives that not only reflect our commitment to sustainability but also align with our operational realities. By setting these well-defined targets, we created a several-year roadmap that not only directs our immediate actions but also frames our long-term sustainability vision. 

Don’t just create a plan and stick to it 

We don’t have to tell you that being flexible/adaptable is important to just about any plan but we didn’t realize just how much we’d have to foster that mentality in our collaboration efforts. We weren’t just working across the beliefs and values of 90+ organizations, but also in the ever-evolving field of sustainability. This is true even as we launch our CAP, because new information, technologies, and external circumstances will happen to make our goals change and evolve. 

“One of the challenges of climate change is the transition away from stability. All our systems (economic, social, etc.) and infrastructure (Food systems, transportation networks, city locations, etc.) were built during thousands of years of climatic stability. We're now moving from periodic episodes of acute shocks (hurricanes, floods, social unrest) to chronic stressors (climatic shifts, climate migration, disrupted supply chains, shifts in agricultural growing regions, etc). Planning for known changes while staying flexible to new information is key to navigating this new norm.” —Wayne Warrington, Senior Associate, Verdis Group

Do lead by example 

While it’s certainly exciting to finally put our own CAP into action, something equally empowering is the idea that doing so will encourage others to do the same. Our work inspires others to launch their own efforts. This mentality that a rising tide raises all ships isn’t just how we don’t just change our industry, but our world. 

Do continuously reflect and evaluate

This takes flexibility in your plan to the next level. It's about actively seeking out and integrating feedback, learning from your achievements as well as your setbacks, and refining your strategies to ensure they remain aligned with the latest scientific research and best practices.

SSA’s 16-year plan is not just responsive, but proactive. A lot is going to change in less than two decades. Things we can’t even imagine right now. Constant evaluation is important to continue to stay at the forefront of sustainability.

And, action

We’re excited to launch our official Climate Action Plan this week, a true partnership with SSA teammates in 90+ locations across the country, our industry expert, Verdis Group, and SSA. It’s a living breathing document that we hope will eventually change the cultural attraction industry for the better and push others to do the same.


Check out the full plan and read more about our next steps here

Looking to kick off this process at your organization? Talk to our friends at Verdis Group.