Successful Sustainability Strategy Series: Tip #1 — Develop a proactive plan

Thinking of developing an organization-wide sustainability strategy?

An uninitiated organization — perhaps a young, yet fast-growing company just beginning to toy with the idea of pursuing sustainability initiatives in the interest of boosting financial performance — might wonder, given the multifaceted, complex purview of sustainable development, where exactly to start. The answer is simpler and more straightforward than you might suspect.

This week we’ll be reviewing five components of a successful sustainability strategy. The first aspect is all about a word we use a lot over here at Intelex: Proactive.

1. Develop a Proactive Strategy: Just as a sustainability framework is an intrinsically integrated framework of interrelated elements affecting all areas of business management, ad hoc and reactive actions have no place in a sustainability management strategy.

Rather than defining policies on a reactive basis, develop a comprehensive, proactive sustainability strategy to build a sustainable development program that is holistic, effective and worth reporting on. Certainly, start small: plan a series of simple conservation initiatives to roll out within the first few months or year. After all, your organization can’t expect to become an industry leader in one day.

However, integrate short-term goals with anticipated long-term accomplishments and delineate exactly how you want your organization to progress towards its sustainability objectives over a four- to five-year time frame. Also, as a part of your sustainability strategy, conduct a SWOT (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats) analysis as well as an assessment of Risks and Opportunities to determine where your organization can have the greatest impact.

 

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