With sustainability on the rise, it’s no surprise that companies are beginning to advertise their corporate sustainability initiatives and reports to the public. Every company wants to talk about what, how, and when. What they’re currently doing to be more sustainable, how they’re committing to a more sustainable business model, and when they’re going to accomplish the sustainability goals they’ve set forth. But what about the companies that don’t know what to do, how to do it, or when? It’s known that companies with higher ESG performance are seeing more profits and investment dollars, so it’s imperative for companies to start making strides towards a more sustainable business model. Whether you’re at the beginning of this journey or well within it, the following tips are sure to help improve your company’s current and future sustainability initiatives.
In this blog, we’ll explore the following sustainability management tips:
- Create Comprehensive Sustainability Programs
- Integrate Sustainability with your Corporate Strategy
- Establish Governance Structures and Tools
- Evaluate and Make Use Of Existing Knowledge
Create Comprehensive Sustainability Programs
Companies gain greater insight into sustainability gaps and opportunities when looking at their current situation as a whole. Dividing up programs and evaluating current processes individually prevents sustainability leaders from seeing the big picture. Here are a few questions to ask when thinking about and assessing your sustainability program:
- How can we ensure our business is set up to take on evolving sustainability trends and initiatives?
- What data and tools are required to ensure sustainability success?
- What are our biggest challenges and what business activities may hinder sustainability success?
- What data do we need and do we have access to it already?
A good sustainability program is holistic, not just green. Combining sustainability programs and evaluating them from a holistic point of view allows for more clarity and collaboration. By addressing these questions together, organizations can better reflect on their economic, environmental, and social impacts and/or influence the decisions of stakeholders.
Integrate Sustainability with your Corporate Strategy
By integrating sustainability as part of your corporate strategy, you will ensure that employees understand how sustainability fits into their role and day to day work. According to a 2021 report conducted by Cority and independent research firm, Verdantix, only 38% of employees are aware of their company’s sustainability agenda. Incorporating sustainability within the overall company strategy will increase employee engagement and understanding of sustainability initiatives, which will have a positive impact on overall performance. Employee engagement is crucial to your sustainability programs because it allows employees to see how their work is directly connected to the company’s sustainability success. One way to improve employee engagement is to create a sustainability committee comprised of dedicated resources from different departments.
Establish Governance Structures and Tools
To ensure that every employee has a strong understanding of the company’s sustainability program and initiatives, there must be policies, defined roles and processes, and a centralized information system. Once sustainability goals have been established, governance structures and tools will help your employees reach those goals and provide them with a clear understanding of everyone’s responsibilities and workflows. This is a crucial step in sustainability management because it provides employees with the framework they need to do their job successfully and autonomously. Additionally, having the appropriate tools and technology to support their efforts is just as important. Tools and technology, like sustainability software, will provide workers with real-time data so they can continuously manage and improve processes, review and track worker duties and responsibilities, and evaluate what resources are being used.
Evaluate and Make Use of Existing Knowledge
The need for transparent and accurate data continues to increase and many companies find themselves evaluating whether their sustainability programs can meet future expectations and requirements. You may find yourself wondering:
- What data do we need to support sustainability efforts?
- Is the necessary data already being collected and if so, where is it?
Luckily, many EHS professionals have adopted EHS software that has been already collecting a large majority of sustainability data. Reviewing the data that you already have access to is a great way to evaluate and understand where your company is at and what data you still need. Once you’ve evaluated all the existing data, you can establish baselines, formulate plans, and measure and track predicted impacts. For many companies, combining their EHS systems with sustainability is the most effective approach to ensure accurate and unified data, not to mention the benefit it has on efficiency and productivity.
Building the right sustainability program for your company can seem like a daunting task, but these four tips will help you create a program that not only fits your company’s needs and goals but also allows your company to tell its own, unique sustainability story. It takes dedicated people and continuous collaboration to reach sustainability goals but developing a sustainability program that incorporates a holistic point of view, emphasizes employee engagement, utilizes existing knowledge, and employs the right technology is a great place to start.