Six Questions your organization should be able to answer about its sustainability program
In recent times it has become necessary for organizations to implement a sustainability program. The larger the organization, the more important this is. Every organization has a carbon footprint, which effects the health of the planet. Is your company doing enough to mitigate their footprint?
This is not only important from an ecological perspective but is increasingly important to stakeholders as well. More and more companies are creating sustainability programs which they release in their ESG reports for the benefit of their investors. Often these reports highlight and organization’s commitment to energy conservation and reducing their impact on the environment. As more organizations begin their sustainability journey, here are six questions that your organization needs to ask itself.
1. Does your organization have a sustainability program?
This might seem like a simple enough question, but oftentimes organizations do not even know what sustainability is or what it entails. From the media and their stakeholders, they know that this is an important topic that needs to be addressed, but where do they begin? Has your company defined what sustainability means to them? If you have a sustainability program, how far along is it? Are there goals set and benchmarks set? How are benchmarks measured?
2. What sustainability challenges does your organization face?
What are some of the biggest challenges and obstacles your organization faces that can prevent it from being successful? This can be based upon the industry and location but can also be determined by other factors. What are the biggest threats to your sustainability plan? Once these are determined, how will your company manage these issues?
Perhaps your employees and upper management are not buying in, because they see it as an unnecessary expense? Ways that this can be addressed is through regular communication on sustainability practices, reports on initiatives progress, and creating incentives to participate.
3. How do you compare to your competition?
Many potential customers will only work with organizations that have sustainability programs in place. This expands to investors as well. This creates the need to know what your competition is doing with their sustainability program and how yours compare. Some organizations just want to be equal to their top competition in their sustainability programs, whereas others want to be their industry leaders. Being an industry leader can often attract new customers and investors, which in turn grows your organization’s market share.
Not only should you look at organizations in your specific industry, but in organizations within your geographic location. Comparing by your location is important, because certain geographic locations might have unique challenges to their sustainability goals.
If you do not want to get left behind, then contact us on how we can help you reach your sustainability goals.
4. Which industry-specific tools do you use to measure progress?
Once you have started your sustainability plan and implementing it, the next step is to measure your progress. This is necessary to show that your plan is making the positive changes that is has set out to do. One way to do this is by measuring your costs and showing your ROI on your programs. This is done through sustainability accounting techniques and industry-specific measuring tools. They should summarize your techniques so that not only can you share your findings, but also detail how you got them.
5. What business value are you seeing?
Are you able to show monetary value to your CFO? This is important for getting continued support for your sustainability program. Monetary value is important, but so is qualitative value. Find stories that demonstrate how your organization’s sustainability initiatives have improved employees’ happiness and retentions. Oftentimes you will find that the top experts in certain industries will only work for organizations with a commitment to sustainability. Also, how are your stakeholders reacting? How is your program turning your organization into a sustainability thought-leader? This will go a long way into recruiting like-minded candidates and customers.
Defining your sustainability program has myriad benefits. Working through these questions will help you review your sustainability program and identify any gaps or weaknesses that need to be addressed. Once you have the answers, your organization is better equipped to target prospective customers and include your sustainability program as a strong selling point. These answers can also serve as an internal training tool that will quickly get employees up-to-speed on your sustainability initiatives and help bolster buy-in across the organization.
6. Is your upper-management and executives committed to sustainability practices?
It is important that upper management sees the value of your sustainability program, or they will push it to the wayside. It is important to not only get upper-management commitment, but to do so in writing. This can oftentimes be seen in a statement by the CEO in a CSR or ESG report. By getting a verbal commitment, it gives clear direction and incentive for other employees to follow the sustainability plan and prove your company’s commitment to sustainability.
To learn more about how to incorporate a sustainability plan into your organization, please feel free to contact us for a 30-minute consultation.