Structuring Corporate Sustainability for Long Term Success

Times are tough, and that’s why it’s more important than ever to be corporately responsible. Fortunately, it is possible to structure your CSR initiatives to drive long-term business success. An article from last fall in Industry Week provided some good advice around how good business meets the common good.

  1. Understand How Sustainability Fits Into Your Market
    To understand how social, environmental, and economic issues intersect with your business, determine how and where these issues are relevant in your company’s marketplace.

    1. Assess Stakeholder Values
      • Non-Governmental Organizations
        NGOs have a deep understanding of various social and environmental issues and may be able to help you identify opportunities for improvement.
      • Customers
        Value-driven buyers make decisions based on factors that include a company’s business practices.
      • Employees
        Nearly one-third of job-seekers said that working for a “green” company would be a factor in choosing a job.
    2. Examine Regulatory Environments
      Companies must anticipate such regulations when defining sustainable business strategies.
    3. Consider Natural Resource Dependencies and Impact
      When resources such as fossil fuels, water, and land are depleted, costs rise. Companies looking to lower exposure to such costs are reducing dependence on fossil fuels and redesigning processes to require less water and generate less waste.
  2. Define Company Specific Sustainability Goals and Supporting Structure
    The scope of sustainability should be limited to activities that offset your company’s own impacts or positively affect its own stakeholders.
  3. Include Current Initiatives in the Structure
    A supply chain initiative originally designed to save on packaging costs may also minimize waste. A company must take inventory of these projects and determine where they fit into the overall program structure. Don’t overlook the following areas of opportunity.

    • Raw Material Sourcing
    • Continuous Improvement of Labor & Manufacturing
    • End-to-End Production Loss Minimization
    • Optimize Distribution & Disposal
    • Production Innovation & Supplier Collaboration
  4. Communicate Progress
    Stakeholders expect transparency in reporting progress and tracking results.