Sustainability has become the buzzword of the 21st century. With the growing degradation of the environment due to human-made factors and the detrimental side effects that come alongside it, institutions such as private companies have a key role to play in ensuring sustainable development is a priority.
Studies show that new generations of consumers have acquired a social conscience, with 57% of them willing to change their purchasing habits to help reduce negative environmental impact of their buying behaviours. Furthermore, 70% are willing to pay a premium for brands and services that are sustainable and environmentally responsible. With the growing precedence of sustainable development, how does a company strategize sustainability?
4 Steps to a Sustainable Strategy
- Stakeholder alignment and management
Employees, customers, governments, business partners, NGOs, and investors are all included in the list of stakeholders that need to be aligned with your sustainability goals. With employees representing the identity of the company, it is pertinent to ensure they are considering these goals in their job, and working to maximise every opportunity to report on the company’s sustainable initiatives to customers.
Within the Consumer-Packaged Goods (CPG) sector, more than 80% of greenhouse-gas emissions and more than 90% of the impact on land use, water scarcity, biodiversity and use of natural resources result from the upstream supply chain, making it important to ensure business partners and investors are collaborating with you to create sustainable programs (McKinsey & Co.). Additionally, NGOs and local, regional, and provincial governments have policies to assist and advance sustainability goals for startups.
2. Identification of material issues
Material issues are topics that have “a direct or indirect impact on the ability of your organization to create, preserve or erode the economic, environment and social value for itself, its stakeholders and the society at large” (Global Reporting Initiative). With the evolution of internal and external business conditions over time, identification of material issues through a yearly analysis of key performance indicators is a crucial step.
3. Initiatives to address material issues
Once these material issues have been addressed, the company can begin to formulate and implement initiatives to combat setbacks and improve performance on achieving sustainable development for the following year.
4. Communication and annual reports
The success of your sustainability initiative becomes redundant without communication through social media, PR activities, or an annual report. Thus, the final step includes a high-quality, accurate, clear, and reliable recount to convey your commitment to sustainability.
If you’re interested in additional guidance to develop your sustainable strategy, CEI can delineate a personalized roadmap to get you to your ideal destination. Visit https://ecoinst.ca/ for more information.