In helping corporations design and implement sustainability, we have found the roadmap typically follows this path:
1. Create strategy
Define Priorities: What areas matter to us from an environmental, social, and economic standpoint?
External Assessment: What are others doing, and what do customers and regulators expect of us?
Internal Assessment: What is our estimated baseline impact and risk (GHG, water, chemicals, hazardous waste, safety, community impact)?
Define Targets and Gap: What are our key targets? Gaps between current state and targets? What initiatives need to be put in place?
How Will We Make it Happen? Governance Structure, Resources, and Investments
2. Capture low-hanging fruit
Infrastructure: Put in place governance and measurement structure, including information system solution.
Baseline and Report: Perform detailed environmental inventory and put reporting structure in place. Draft first sustainability report.
Capture Efficiencies: Energy efficiencies and reductions, waste reduction or reuse potential, travel reductions, IT efficiencies, local green teams
Measure Results: Capture savings and environmental impacts.
3. Create market opportunity
Market Opportunity Assessment: What ‘green,’ sustainability, environmental, or social responsibility services or products do our customers want that we may not be delivering? What global, social, and environmental problems are emerging that we are in a unique position to address?
Product and Service Reformulation: How can we deliver our products and services in a more environmentally and socially responsible way?
Service Development: What services do our customers or target markets buy that could be replaced with a more sustainable service that we could deliver?
New Markets: Are we capturing market opportunity with developing market customers at differing price points?
4. Address stakeholder impacts
Supplier Responsibility: Assess supplier labor, economic, and environmental status and requirements. Perform supplier audits and manage corrective actions. Determine future sourcing requirements. Address supplier community impacts and development.
Public Advocacy: Is our public policy and advocacy position consistent with our responsibility goals?
Partnership Strategy: Engage in industry and other partnerships to standardize and drive more efficient change. Expand NGO and government partnerships to create market, political, and customer opportunity.
Customer Influence: Enhance brand loyalty and sustainability impact through engagement with customer or customers’ customers behavior.