Inject Sustainability into Your Business Plan
Sustainability Can’t be an Add-on
Sustainability can’t be an add-on or simply tacked onto your companies business plan. It needs to be infused into the core of your companies culture and central your the companies business plan.
Sustainability will be handled differently for different companies. Whether your company is a startup or an established company reevaluating your business plans matters. You need to identify what the source of the problem is that you are trying to address.
An established company needs to look back as far as possible to establish what should be changed as your company moves into the future. Doing this leads to a better understanding of who your stakeholders are, what compliance issues you face, and better prepare you for reporting requirements.
The four key components to adding sustainability to your business plan are listed below.
Your Business Problem Statement
Practice Business Environmental Stewardship
Also to be added are environmental stewardship, social responsibility and reporting and metrics. Environmental stewardship is all about reducing the environmental impact through all business aspects and minimizing the use of non-renewable natural resources.
Social responsibility covers internal programs and conditions for employee safety and rights, external initiatives and partnerships that better communities and supplier relationships, and business ethics to promote honesty, fair trade and integrity.
Your Business Sustainability Requirements
Looking at all of those issues at the same time can be overwhelming to some. In teaching sustainability at Regis University, Fell developed seven exercises to follow in order to tackle what needs to be done.
- Define your problem statement.
- Map our your stakeholders.
- Conduct a product life cycle assessment.
- Create a facilities management checklist.
- Develop a program to illustrate positive and safe employee treatment.
- Develop a program for community outreach and relationships with suppliers and vendors.
- Make an ethics policy.
Sustainability is Your Key Business Factor
Sue Kunz, CEO of BioVantage Resources, a company that creates systems that grow algae for wastewater treatment and research, explained how her company, which is the fourth startup she’s been involved with, makes sustainability a key factor.
For their products, they look at if components are recyclable, what their appropriate life spans should be, if they are scalable, if they work off the grid and what their water and carbon footprints are. In manufacturing and distribution, they focus on globally-available parts, local manufacturing and suppliers that are also focused on sustainability.
Sustainability Must be Your Business Core
Sustainability must be a common thread in your business plan inspiring all employees to also focus on it, and everyone in the company asks sustainability-related questions about products and operations.
Your Employees Must Be Sustainability Focused
Every company employee must embrace sustainability and be focused on developing the processes to promote sustainability in all company business practices.