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The 4 Steps to Accelerating your Sustainability Strategy

by Mar 10, 2020SDG Strategy, Sustainable development goals0 comments

There is no doubt that with the current Corona pandemic, businesses are taking a major hit.  

This is an extremely unstable and constantly evolving problem. Situations like the current one do not care for well thought out and developed business plans, and result in strategies being rendered quickly dated and difficult to follow through on.

This is especially true for sustainability strategies. Similarly to the Australian bushfires, which was a crisis for the environment and for sustainability, it can take time for businesses to readjust and work to achieve the targets that they had previously set for themselves. 

We do not know when this health crisis will end, or what shape businesses will be in when it does.

Therefore, being in a good place with your company’s sustainability strategy is a good place to start. Knowing how to accelerate your sustainability strategy can help you to continue your good work afterwards. 

The Why and the How of a Sustainability Strategy

The starting point for accelerating your sustainability strategy in business must always come back to your company mission. This provides the starting point from which to analyse why the company exists, how it wants to work and what goals has it set for itself.  

As part of this process, every business must set about a process of prioritisation, whereby a company can set down the framework for analysing results and targets. 

To be relevant in the future, companies must be aware of and contribute positively to dealing with the sustainability challenges that are faced globally. As part of this, to ensure their competitive advantage, companies must acknowledge and demonstrate a commitment to working with their sustainability responsibilities

When a company wants to decide on its sustainability strategy it needs to decide on what is its main goal with it. If you want to comply, by working with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), companies can examine their sustainability performance across a number of factors. 

Environmental criteria examine how a company performs with relation to its responsibilities to nature. Social factors review how it deals with relationships with employees, customers and communities.

Finally, Governance refers to the set of rules and principles which deal with rights, responsibilities and expectations between different stakeholders in the management of corporations.

If your company wants to use measuring tools to report your sustainability efforts to investors then a further examination of ESG or Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)  is useful to prepare yourself for the future. 

The GRI is an international standards organization that helps businesses, governments and other organizations better understand and communicate their global impacts.

However, what the 17 SDGs do differently is provide more “direction and intentionality, in the standardization of language and focus given for areas of impact and potentially greater social return on investment (ROI) and financial return.

The SDGs provide great opportunities for businesses today and in the future. Businesses can work with the SDGs to not only to decide on where the challenges lie but where there are opportunities for global growth. 

If you want to improve your sustainability and are looking at mitigating risk for your investors, your company needs to look externally to examine what kind of product should you be producing, or what gap in the market should my company be working with. 

Enacting your sustainability strategy can be difficult or confusing with many businesses not knowing how or where to begin. Don’t worry, this article will take you through the FOUR key steps to accelerating the process of getting your sustainability strategy going.

Whiteboard with team discussing strategy to represent working on a sustainability strategy
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1. Create a Strong Sustainability Strategy

Over 10,000 companies around the world produce a report on their non-financial impacts. However, although many of these organisations will have sustainability strategies, for many others these are solely an account of their activities. 

Recognising the importance of sustainability for your business processes is not enough on its own, it needs to be incorporated and aligned into all of your actions and measurements in a coherent strategy to have a demonstrative effect. 

Developing a strong sustainability strategy serves to provide an opportunity to view progress and more importantly gives the framework to review,  develop and change activities in a way that is successful for your business. 

The best way of keeping track of your company’s sustainability progress is to establish some Sustainability Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Measuring the sustainability process at your company is a crucial way to ensure that you are moving towards and reaching your sustainability goals. 

They allow the company to keep up its measurement of sustainability progress but also to get a better idea of where they can achieve this improvement in the future. These will allow you to measure improvement and understand your sustainability progress.

2. Establish Sustainability KPIs

But how should companies go about establishing their own sustainability KPIs?  One of the key problems that companies face when they try to implement sustainability KPIs is the sheer number of potential KPIs and the daunting process that can come about from trying to decide on the ones that are most relevant for your company and its activities.

As an example, an analysis of the performance indicators disclosed in the sustainability reports of 94 Canadian corporations, discovered 585 different indicators that were being used. Additionally, 55% of the indicators that were mentioned appeared only once

That corporate sustainability reports have such considerable variation in the use of performance indicators points to a trend that “could hinder benchmarking efforts and make it difficult to measure progress.” 

This diversity of opinion of how best to adjudicate the performance of the indicators involved may have been due to a number of factors which included the “differing interpretations of sustainability; a relative lack of mandatory standards for reporting; the fact that different sectors have different reporting priorities.”  

Bridging the gap between the misunderstandings around the interpretations of sustainability, aligning companies thinking on the issue and developing worker buy-in is a crucial part of the development of strong company sustainability strategies.

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3. Onboard your Staff with the KPIs and Sustainability

At 2030 Builders, we have developed the perfect tool for companies to work with to accelerate this sustainability process.

The successful implementation of a strong sustainability strategy relies on the workforce being completely aligned with the goals that the company is setting for itself. This can only come about when the entire staff is on board with the company’s ‘why’ of sustainability. 

The most effective way of doing this is involving your workforce and key decision-makers in a process that encourages the development of an aligned and anchored sustainability narrative.

To align and onboard employees with the sustainability process of a company they need to first get a firm grasp of why sustainability matters both to them personally and for their company. Bringing together the gap between the sustainability strategy of company’s and their employees’ sustainability thinking is a vital part of developing a strong sustainability mission.

At 2030 Builders we use gamification in our experiences, as it is the best way to deal with the sheer amount of information needed to understand in sustainability. Learning through fun and engaging processes enables users to engage in active learning where information is internalised and becomes more a part of your employees thought processes.

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4. Increase Collaboration and Improve Decision-Making

By learning about the areas of sustainability that your company is seeking to focus on they can learn how to think innovatively about the solutions that they need to come together. In this way, your workers’ personal connection to sustainability can be connected to that of the company to work collaboratively. 

The gamified process works to unleash the creativity in the workforces personal values and anchor the company strategy with them. The process of accelerating your company sustainability strategy is brought about by the buy-in that your workers develop with the company sustainability processes. 

When you want to accelerate your Sustainability strategy you need to have onboard your whole team and especially those who can drive forward the process. Your Human Resources department and those responsible for talent management, as sustainability work is upskilling your workforce. 

Your Communications Department needs to be involved likewise, as they are able to coherently and concisely put together the message that brings your company together around a sustainability narrative. 

Also, your Sustainability Manager needs to be able to push forward input as they are most acutely aware of the areas that your company needs to focus on in sustainability. 

By exploring common values and sustainability beliefs between peers there can be a strategic alignment that bolsters the sustainability capabilities of your company. This can only serve to improve your company’s sustainability mission and work towards quantifiable impact. Accelerating your sustainability strategy can be a simple and engaging process if the correct steps are taken.

Through these 4 simple steps, you can bring about the process of accelerating your sustainability strategy.  Our software and programme can help you to advance your sustainability efforts and work towards reaching your KPIs.

If you are excited about what at 2030 Builders we can do for you and achieve together, or would just like to learn more about us,  follow the link to book a demo.



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