Successful Sustainability Strategy Series: Tip #5 — Communicate your performance

We’ve covered the importance of developing a proactive plan, quantifying financial gains, understanding the role of metrics, and using software to manage your sustainability program for the most effective results.

Today let’s talk about the often overlooked element of a winning sustainability program: communicating your progress.

5. Communicate Commitment/Performance to Stakeholders: While the primary function of sustainability initiatives will be the returns they deliver through conservation efforts and a number of other cost-savings effects, don’t miss the boat on the wealth of opportunities that accompany clearly communicating sustainability efforts and accomplishments to stakeholders. When developing a sustainability strategy, consider incorporating an ongoing sustainability reporting plan that conforms to existing frameworks (such as the IIRC, GRI and others).

While some critics have complained that comprehensive sustainability reporting can dominate resources and distract from essential business operations, proper planning, resource allocation and the use of software solutions (with configurable reporting capabilities) can render reporting a seamless and automatic process.

Even before sustainability benchmarks have been achieved, once a commitment to sustainable development has been solidified by way of a documented sustainability strategy, an organization can begin touting its agenda. The marketing, publicity, sales and customer relations benefits that flow from flaunting environmental, social and financial sustainability are too substantial to ignore.

In closing

We hope you’ve enjoyed our overview of the elements we believe are integral to a successful sustainability strategy. Please share your thoughts with us! We’ve barely scratched the surface of what can be a nuanced, multilayered file, but we’ve tried to provide some beginner-level guidance to the uninitiated organization that aspires to be more sustainable.

As a parting thought, do not fall into the trap many newcomers to the sustainability game find themselves in by being either overly ambitious or forgetting to frame priorities accurately. Remember that your organization is a business first and foremost: instead of framing your business priorities in terms of environmental issues, frame environmental issues in terms of your business priorities.

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