Workshop 1 – Principles & Values

Workshop Objectives:

To discuss the principles of sustainable development and to identify and confirm the principles and values that guide your organisation, event or project.

Workshop Participants:

  • Top management
  • Leadership
  • Key personnel
  • Comms

Workshop Outcomes:

  • A short list of sustainable development principles and goals which are most relevant to the organisation, event or project.
  • New ‘descriptors’ or ‘titles’ which could represent your intention in each area.

    This work could potentially offer you the framework or foundations for your sustainability strategy and themes. 

Get prepared for the workshop:

Slides and handouts:
  • Prepare a presentation slide which shows the scope and scale of your event, organisation or project.
  • Prepare presentation slide with the sustainable development guiding programmes and principles (SDGs, Global Compact, GRI, ISO 20121)
  • Prepare a presentation slide which shows any other existing frameworks or governance systems the organisation uses, which could be built upon.
  • Produce a hand-out on the protocols listed above for workshop participants to refer to.
Workshop tools:
  • Provide Post It notes to your participants, (or use the virtual option Mural).
  • You may also wish to have large sheets of paper or notepads.
  • Coloured markers and highlighters will be useful.
  • A projector and wall to project onto.
  • Other useful tools include tape, Blu Tack, flipboard and easel, a large vertical or horizontal surface to work with, whiteboards.
  • Have any videos cued and ready to show.

Need a virtual workshop tool? Use Mural!

Workshop Process

Step 1:

Let workshop participants know that the intention for this workshop is to narrow in on what the guiding principles of sustainable development and values of the organisation could be. You will be reflecting upon existing frameworks both within the organisation and externally.

Sustainable development principles include: Inclusivity, Integrity, Stewardship, Transparency,  Labour Standards, Human Rights.  

  • Introduce, via a presentation slide on each, the four global protocols, standards or programmes which guide sustainable development principles and values:

The SDGs offer a framework for approaching universal topics which must be addressed to truly achieve sustainable development. 


The UN Global Compact offers guiding principles, focused on business’ societal responsibilities.

UN Global Compact

The GRI offers a reporting framework for organisational performance in both the principles and goals.

Global Reporting Initiative

ISO 20121 requires these to be included in an event’s approach to sustainability management. 

ISO 20121

  • Show a presentation slide on any existing sustainable development or sustainability-based programmes or protocols from the country, region or city.

    For example this could be a Vision 2030 Plan for your city around sustainable development, the country’s commitments to such things as meeting the ambitions of the European Green Deal, a Sustainability Framework created for the city, a voluntary regional programme, etc. 
  • Show a presentation slide on any existing sustainability-related protocols, commitments, policies, frameworks or similar, that are already in place for the event, organisation or project.

    For example previous Sustainability Strategies, Sustainability Charter, Sustainability Policy etc.

Step 2:
Sustainable Development and its guiding principles

Play any of the videos below or choose your own relevant video to play.

Discuss these overarching principles and values summarised from either of these approaches:

SDGs Approach

  1. No Poverty
  2. Zero Hunger
  3. Good Health & Wellbeing
  4. Quality Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean Water & Sanitation
  7. Affordable & Clean Energy
  8. Decent work and Economic Growth
  9. Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure
  10. Reduced Inequalities
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. Responsible Consumption & Production
  13. Climate Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life on Land
  16. Peace Justice and Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships for the Goals

Global Compact 

  1. Human Rights
  2. Labour Standards
    Freedom of Association, Collective Bargaining, No Forced, Compulsory or Child Labour, No Discrimination
  3. Environmental Stewardship
    A precautionary approach, promoting greater responsibility
  4. Diversity and Inclusivity
  5. Integrity & Transparency
    Anti-corruption, ethical governance

Ask: Do any of the SDGs and principles resonate immediately with you for this organisation/event/project? 

Write these key first impressions on the board, large sheets of paper etc.

You will break into groups next and dive deeper, so this step is just to get them going.

Step 3:
What does this mean for us?

Break into small groups for this next step if necessary.

  • Using post-it notes (or virtual ones in Mural), ask workshop participants to write down the SDGs and guiding principles which they see as fundamental to responsible governance for your organisation, event or project.

    Remind them of the key guiding principles and refer them to any print outs or cards you prepared, such as transparency and integrityinclusivity and diversity, fair practices, human rights and labour standards, environmental stewardship etc. 

    Encourage them to use their own language if they can find words that better describe the principle given the organisation, project, event, topic, location, culture, language, lore, etc. 

Step 4:

  • On a wall, window or a big table, get everyone to cluster their post-its / similar answers to create categories or core themes.
  • Sort through the clusters and see what themes naturally arise.
  • Undergo a voting round to make a short list of the most critical principles and/or SDGs.

    You don’t need to be constrained by choosing a certain number of SDGs, but it is likely there will be strong matches with all of the Global Compact principles.

Step 5:
A Deeper Dive

  • Ask them to dive deeper and identify touch-points, elements or other aspects of the organisation, event or project, where there is a risk, opportunity or obvious alignment with these principles and values.

    If necessary due to time, each group can focus on an identified principle or SDG.

    For example: the inclusion and diversity principle could be enacted through physical access on site, through workforce policies, through menus and catering, ticketing prices, programming content etc.

    You can read more on these principles in action here: StewardshipDiversity and InclusivityIntegrity and TransparencySDGs and Events

Step 6:
How can we best describe this?

  • Discuss the outcomes and see if it is possible to choose a word/title/descriptor that expresses the Sustainable Development Principles or Values in the short list.

    For example you could use the word ‘trust’ instead of ‘corporate governance’. Or you could use a culturally appropriate word for care for the natural environment, such as in New Zealand the Māori principle kaitiakitanga.