So, how can you introduce even the smallest of changes to enhance your corporate sustainability?
In January 2016, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) came into effect, which provides a common set of goals and objectives to put the world on a sustainable path to 2030. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals include such things as Gender Equality, Quality Education, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Affordable and Clean Energy, and Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, to name a few.
To get the best results that are sustainable, you need to analyse your operations and measure business performance.
Your performance measurement results will help you decide in which areas to apply sustainability to support your business goals long term.
You will need to choose the most effective sustainability strategies for your business and then plan how to put them into practice. You may need to factor in capital expenditure, allocating employees or developing workforce skills. Or you might be able to make real improvements by updating daily procedures and establishing a culture of sustainability in the workplace.
How to go about implementing a sustainability strategy in your business
1. Consider some of the practices suggested by the United Nations as a way in which you can support sustainability appropriately in your business. Namely Act Responsibly, Find Opportunities and Inspire and Advocate.
2. Look at your business from the outside in and apply activities that support sustainability across various disciplines within your business. You don’t need to go it alone. Put in place a team to become sustainable advocates and at a corporate level implement strategy through your procedures and workforce development plans.
3. Choose to focus on different areas of sustainability depending on your business goals and current needs. Like any other business decision, your strategy should be based on a review of the options and how they support your business goals.
4. Look ‘behind the scenes’ at how your business currently operates. This is a good start and will help to identify:
the full cost of your processes and products, business strategies and activities
a whole of business view (or even whole of value stream) so that savings in one area don’t result in costs in another
all opportunities to improve productivity and efficiency
opportunities to reduce the hidden costs generated from unnecessary energy use and waste
how to manage any risks to the environment to avoid, minimise or mitigate damage
how to position your business as a ‘good corporate citizen’ in the community to promote a positive profile and public support
strategies to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty
a customer base that will buy on value including the value of sustainability features, rather than just price
how to manage your workforce capabilities and culture to balance your business needs with employee engagement.