"If we're not running our businesses financially, socially, and environmentally in a sustainable manner, we won't be in business for much longer."
Now that we have a high level understanding of what Sustainability is about, how do we get started with the movement towards a more sustainable future?
In his course Navigating Environmental Sustainability: A Guide for Leaders, Lucas Joppa recommends examining what your organization is good at, to align sustainability with the core competencies of your organization e.g. if you are an accounting firm, explore better ways to balance our environmental books.
We all have our own strengths and skillsets. What’s key is for everyone to bring together the diversity of our skills, experiences and expertise to start contributing jointly to sustainability.
Once you have that figured out, it’s time to make it real by integrating sustainability into the core mission statement and objective of your organization. And aligning climate action with your business model through the following:
a. Ensure products are sourced, manufactured, operated, and managed at end of life with sustainability principles
b. Think through how, what you produce can be deployed for sustainable outcomes
c. Commit to innovating new products with sustainable solutions
d. Advocate for a broader framework and policy for your industry
e. Engage all employees and put all their unique skills and expertise to work
"By increasing transparency and sharing environmental data throughout the supply chain, businesses can see beyond the tip of the iceberg to the true impact of the products and services that they produce."
Next up on the LinkedIn Learning Path Sustainability Transformation for Leaders, David Bennell shared that close to 70% of a company’s environmental footprint could be found in its supply chain, and suggests exploring how the supply chain can be managed more sustainably through:
a. Supplier water and energy audits
b. Improve and measure recycling and waste reclamation
c. Transition to less toxic materials and inputs
d. Additional resources
i. UN Global Compact on Supply Chain Sustainability
ii. Fair Factories Clearinghouse for Supply Chain Compliance Management
iii. Sedex for Sustainable Supply Chain Data Management
After reviewing your supply chain and internal operations to manage the triple bottom line of social, environment & economic factors, it’s time to switch gear to stakeholder engagement in the following areas:
a. Risk management
b. Corporate social responsibility
c. Customer needs
d. Drive innovation
Almost everyone’s a stakeholder, including our critics. It may not be easy, but it’s important to engage them early, to try and find common ground. Understanding stakeholders’ perspectives and any issues up front can help shape a better strategy over time.
Finally, on Sustainability Strategies, David recommends assessing your energy and water usage to identify oppotunities for cost savings and waste reduction:
a. Perform an energy assessment to evaluate energy needs, usage, and ways you can begin saving
b. Install energy efficient lights, use motion detectors or utilize natual lighting
c. Create a strategic water management plan:
i. Review annual water usage through utility records or on-site metering
ii. Include water as as a measure of quality in your vendor compliance and monitoring efforts
iii. Determine whether your products or services increase or decrease customers’ water use
All in all, a high-performing value chain is:
b. Conserving resources
c. Economically viable across the chain
d. Resilient to stress
Here are some additional resources shared by David throughout the course:
a. Forest Stewardship Council
b. Rainforest Alliance
c. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
d. Energy Assessment by Energy Saver
e. Greenhouse Gas Protocol
f. The Nature Conservancy
g. Carbon Footprint Calculator