Business Sustainability

A Business Framework

sustainability

“In the last year or two, everything has changed. People are starting to suspect that sustainability is really a strategic issue that will shape the future of our businesses. The specifics are different depending upon industry and context, but we’re in the beginning of a historic wake-up.” (1)

Some are calling it a “Mega Trend” because it is taking on a life of its own. It is being driven by forces bigger than any one organization or industry and is demanding more and more attention from business leaders.

What is Sustainability?

Some think of it as “greening” an organization. While that may be part of it, that is a myopic view. The sustainability conversation in many ways is shifting — from eco-friendliness to risk reduction and looking for ways to prepare for natural resource fluctuations, extreme weather, or supply-chain disruptions — the sustainability conversation is rapidly moving towards a dialog about a company’s ability to compete.

Government mandates, community awareness, and customer expectations as well as unpredictable worldwide events (economic, political, social, and ecological) are combining to move companies to look at how to maximize shareholder value, meet and exceed customer expectations, and mitigate their risks. More and more, companies are looking at sustainability as the framework behind increasing productivity and reducing consumed resources while improving product or service quality, competitiveness, and profitability.

Benefits:

The benefits of this framework have been shown to include: a stronger brand; greater pricing power; greater operational efficiencies; supply chain optimization; enhanced ability to enter new markets; enhanced ability to attract, retain, and motivate employees; increased customer loyalty; and improved innovation.

Implementation:

Sustainability has the greatest chance of success when a proven implementation model is used. “You cannot implement these kinds of programs bottom-up, it’s impossible. It’s always top-down … Always. Because it’s such a cultural change, you cannot do it organically.” (2) Often improvements go across departmental lines and this requires top management’s involvement.

In our experience when sustainability is strategically based, management driven, employee supported, and stakeholder/customer focused it’s a winner. However, without management’s focus, a change of this magnitude simply becomes relegated to another “program-of-the-month”. Its power is lost and the employees become disillusioned with their management.

We can help you implement a sustainable strategy!

We have a proven implementation model that works quickly and would very much appreciate the opportunity to discuss it with you to determine how you can begin reaping the extraordinary benefits of sustainability as a business framework.

1. Peter Senge, Sloan School of Management
2. Georges Kerns, CEO, IWC