Savills Investment Management

Nurturing and empowering a network of Champions to drive sustainability action

The Challenge

With a compelling new restorative business ambition, stretching goals and targets to match, Savills IM had started to activate their people on their strategy through company-wide and team-focussed engagements.

But to support delivery of this strategy, ESG resource needed to expand, and it needed to go further—to develop internal capacity to tackle the more emergent and complex sustainability issues the business faces now and into the future. They needed a solution that would equip their people to support delivery of their strategy, and drive action toward achieving their ambitious goals.

The Design

In close collaboration with Savills IM, FutureMakers advised on the positioning, role definition and recruitment for a voluntary network of cross-function “Restorative Business Champions”, a group that would not only act as an extension of the central ESG team and feed into strategic decision-making, but would also be empowered to collaborate and lead on developing solutions to some of the organisation’s most complex and pressing sustainability challenges.

Across 6 virtual sessions over 3 months, FutureMakers designed and delivered a bespoke programme of ground-breaking concepts, inspirational content, engaging interventions, tools and guidance to support their development as Champions, touching on topics including business transformation, restorative business principles, living systems design, innovation culture, and personal resilience & mastery.

Throughout the programme teams of Champions worked on developing projects to tackle some of the business’ most critical and existential challenges, through:

  • Defining the challenge the teams want to solve
  • Developing a project plan—opportunities to seize, stakeholders to engage and team resourcing
  • Generating a series of ideas, and prioritising one to focus attention on
  • Testing, learning, and setting out a plan for implementation
  • Developing a project narrative and deck to then communicate the idea and gain support from senior leadership with a clear call to action

Through completion of the empowerment programme and with the support of a peer-coaching relationship with a colleague, Champions started to carve out time and capacity and are afforded resources and capacity to develop their own capacities, to support their teams in delivery of their sustainability targets. In this way they are developing the business solutions of the future, all while building an impactful network of likeminded peers across the business.

“I enjoyed collaborating with colleagues across different countries and functions to develop a solution for how Savills IM can approach Climate Action. One realisation we found was that each of our functions complimented one another and we could therefore focus on our strengths in order to paint a full picture of how we could approach the challenge. I am looking forward to taking the next steps in driving this initiative forward.

I’ve been getting involved in external conversations with followers on LinkedIn, and have joined other climate communities on social media sites such as Slack, to discover what other opportunities exist to be more engaged and get involved in addressing the climate crisis.”

Senior Sustainability Risk Manager


“Through this programme I was excited to learn and find like-minded and colleagues—the sessions on experimentation, transformational innovation, restorative business principles and case studies were particularly enlightening. I’m excited to work more with my Champion peers in this “fast and furious change” environment, and take a more focussed approach to my own personal development for how I can support delivery of Savills IM’s restorative ambition.”

Head of Asset Management, Savills Malaysia

“The six different project teams all worked on different but valuable topics—this approach for project work between people from different countries & regions generated a wide variety of views and ideas, and incorporating these views and ideas will help us building a true global ESG culture. The programme helped us to better incorporate our ESG goals in our day-to-day decision-making process, and thanks to this the chances we will meet our ambitious targets has significantly increased.”

Head of Client Capital, Netherlands

“I loved meeting and working with fellow champions across different functions/locations that I may not have had a chance to meet on a day-to-day basis. The specific ESG project work allowed us to get really engaged and inspired to put in practice the foundation laid by FutureMakers around our vision for a restorative business. My mindset changed throughout the program as we learned about real examples and new creative ways to transform our challenges into feasible solutions. The peer coaching and project work were most valuable as it enhanced the way we worked together to create a real entrepreneurial team spirit.

As a result of the programme I feel like I am the safeguarding new business projects with the mindset of a restorative business champion always keeping regeneration in mind and more communicative and open to creative new ways of doing business.”

Office Manager

Champions empowered:


Projects developed:


The Impact & Future

24 champions have been empowered across the business, with the 6 restorative business projects continuing to be developed and implemented beyond the end of the programme, including:

  • Developing a process for creating restorative workspaces that enable company employees to thrive;
  • Increasing reach and impact of contributions to high-priority Sustainable Development Goals through their investment products;
  • Adding ESG to the DNA of occupier relations through engagement of asset managers, occupiers and the other stakeholders;
  • Establishing a dynamic limit on emissions for each fund to ensure net-zero is achieved portfolio-wide
  • Developing a recruitment methodology that maximises diversity and inclusion within the hiring process;
  • Establishing a sustainable debt framework, resulting in better/enhanced assets, and reduced risk of building deterioration.

With the completion of the first cycle of onboarding, Champions will continue to receive support and inspiration in their new roles, and a second cycle is in the planning stages for a new cohort to join the network.

Emily Hamilton, Head of ESG

“We recognise that the only way to achieve our bold ESG ambitions is for everyone to be empowered and engaged to contribute. We have a wealth of potential in our people at Savills IM, and it’s imperative that we empower and equip them with the confidence, knowledge, and tools to collaborate and drive action toward achieving our goals.

The Champions programme developed by FutureMakers has succeeded in empowering some of our most curious minds to lead action on ESG within their teams and across the business, and the projects they’ve been developing will have long-term positive impacts for the business.