I am a member of the Institute for Sustainability. This is a national organization made up of coaches, consultants and management advisers that are planning for what their clients will be needing in the area of sustainability. What is sustainability? Many people think it’s just about greening your business. But if you focus on just preserving the environment without evaluating how that affects the rest of your business, you are missing the point. It’s all about preserving the environment while you grow a thriving business and are growing people, profits and systems. After all, all the greening efforts don’t help if you don’t make a profit, keep your business in business and aren’t supporting your people to do their jobs productively. Your environmental preservation efforts need to be integrated into the fabric of how your business operations run and the systems that are replicable. Here’s a better definition.
“Sustainability is a business approach that creates long-term shareholder value by embracing opportunities and managing risks derived from economic, environmental, and social developments. Sustainability from an organizational perspective also includes an increase in productivity and/or reduction of consumed resources without compromising product or service quality, competitiveness, or profitability.”
Initially it was thought that sustainability would increase the costs of doing business. As with the quality movement this has been proven to be false. As a matter of fact improving quality and becoming sustainable will actually reduce costs, improve profits, and help the environment.
There are lots of reasons to implement a sustainability strategy. And yes, it does require some strategic planning to turn your organization’s current habits into more productive habits. Most organizations reap great rewards in profitability when they examine what they do, focus on a goal, tighten their processes, get their workers’ input, shift the culture and try new things. Here are some reasons to invest in the strategic planning that will provide you with a Sustainability Strategy.
Reasons to Plan and Implement A Sustainability Strategy
- Improve your profitability (doing good things in order to do well)
- Changing customer expectations, some customers are demanding it
- Competition is doing it and are looking better
- Improve business image and brand
- Reflection of moral values because it’s the right thing to do for the future and our children
- Specific incentives and financial returns
- Enhanced ability to attract, retain, and motivate employees especially those who share your values, improved employee moral and loyalty
- It’s where the world is going and you don’t want to be left behind
- Identify new areas of opportunity (revenue streams or new business opportunities)
- Logical extension of existing efforts (process improvement, employee involvement, operating efficiencies etc.)
- Risk avoidance, being pro-active in addressing sustainability issues can prevent environmental liabilities from current and impending regulations
- greater pricing power
- greater operational efficiencies
- more efficient use of resources
- supply chain optimization
- enhanced ability to enter new markets
- increased customer loyalty
- reduced environmental impact
- improved innovation