Sustainability Strategy a ten-point guide for small to medium sized businesses
Business sustainability is becoming increasingly important for managers in the modern economy.
Put simply, business sustainability can be described as a holistic continuous improvement process that includes the sound management of people and the environment. Business sustainability makes good business sense because the beneﬁts feed directly back into the bottom line. But where do we start as small-medium sized businesses?
Rather then being just ‘another thing to do’, business sustainability is an over arching concept that involves doing everything better and more efﬁciently. True sustainability must be integrated into all operations of business - from policy and management through to on-ground activities such as purchasing, production and distribution. While sustainability needs to be driven from the top, it’s not just the job of a single staff member or department - it involves everyone!
Sustainability is often approached in an ad-hoc way. For example, you may have a couple of standalone initiatives in your work place that are not linked to any broad strategic objectives of the business.
This is a good start, but a coordinated process requires the development of a sustainability strategy that is strongly aligned to the business plan.
This document will guide you through the steps to help you develop a strategic approach to sustainability in business.
Developing a Sustainability Strategy
1. Business Drivers
7. Action Plan
5. Gap Analysis
9. Monitor &
The Business Plan
Ten Step Approach
Step 1 - Determine Business Drivers
Identify the pressures that are driving your business to become more sustainable. They may include: • Potential to improve the bottom line through increased efﬁciencies;
• Demonstrating leadership and improving your image and reputation;
• Compliance and risk management;
• Personal passion and commitment to making a difference.
The Big Cheese Company - Business Drivers
The Big Cheese company believes that sustainable growth and maximising shareholder value into the future will be achieved by:
a) Paying careful attention to customer needs, and providing superior quality and value; (driver – product quality) b) Establishing clean and efﬁcient production processes that minimises resource use and minimises negative impacts to the local environment, (drivers - cost and environmental stewardship)
c) Establishing strong links with our local community. (driver - reputation management)
Step 2 - Set a Vision
A vision statement announces your future goals – it is your ‘compass’ to show the outside world where your organisation is heading. The best vision statements are short, clear and concise, realistic and have measurable outcomes.
You may choose to draft a sustainability policy that formalises your company’s commitment to the vision, and display it prominently in your workplace.
(An example of a sustainability policy can be found in Attachment A)
The Big Cheese Company - Vision
The ﬁrst cheese company that, by its actions, demonstrates what sustainability is in all its dimensions - people, process, product, place and proﬁts.
How we do this – the Sustainability Goals
We will produce sustainable cheese products by 2015, by:
Reducing greenhouse emissions from energy consumption to zero,
Reducing our impact on local water supplies through responsible use and disposal,
Being a waste wise manufacturer,
Working closely with our local community in all of our operations.
Ten Step Approach
Step 3 - Set Objectives
Your objectives relate to your sustainability goals. They are more speciﬁc than your goals as they contain numbers and dates.
The Big Cheese Company - Objectives
To achieve our goals by 2015, the Big