How Do We Institute Sustainability in Our Organization?
Instituting sustainability is a profitable business strategy when implemented effectively. It provides organizations with a competitive advantage while positively impacting the environment and the organization’s future ability to do business. In order to institute a strategy of sustainability in your organization, it will be important to assess your current initiatives, so you can prioritize your objectives and establish sustainability goals with specific action steps.
It has been our experience that senior leadership first needs
to define its strategy for sustainabilityand determine how it will
be rolled into the organization’s overall strategy. At this level,
researching what your customers/stakeholders/shareholders
want and/or need will be important. Performing some
internal assessments to gain a clear picture of your
current culture and where there may be areas of
misalignment. Organizational alignment is imperative to
effectively institute sustainability within your organization.
With a clearer understanding of your sustainability strategy, you are ready to move to the next level, which is sharing your detailed plan with your employees, customers, and stakeholders. During this phase your initiatives will begin getting traction and your organization is starting to see results.
As traction and results start to grow, the organization is able to maximize its people and processes to ensure a positive impact on the environment. Additionally the organization is seeing improved customer and stakeholder loyalty, employees are engaged; processes are improved which leads to systems thinking and improved profitability.
Sustainability becomes embedded in the organization’s culture by continually following these steps. Organizations that effectively implement a strategy of sustainability have seen amazing results. Here are some examples of what our clients have shared with us.
- A family owned business reduced the amount of time it took them to produce approved kitchen designs by 56% while reducing their scrap by 34% after participating in a custom designed sustainability process.
- By looking for ways to save money, reduce waste, and generally make their processes more efficient, Subaru of Indiana reduced electricity consumption 14% on a per-car basis since 2000 and has not shipped any waste to a landfill since 2004.
- Wegman’s supermarkets is starting an organic farming project to find cost effective ways to grow organic food, a $17+ billion market, that they will share with suppliers to their stores.
- A Community Hospital (270 beds) was looking for ways to improve their overall effectiveness in the community and to their patients. They elected to embark on a three year improvement plan that started with the development of a strategy, followed by implementation of a management development process to improve the skills and attitudes of management. Core processes were revised and waste was eliminated. This resulted in improved financial performance, improved patient and employee satisfaction, decreased average length of stay, and improved environmental impact by decreasing waste and costs. The organization received numerous awards recognizing them in the community and stateSo, what would instituting sustainability do for your organization.