Embarking on a sustainable transformation in your organisation can seem daunting without a previously laid down foundation to anchor your changes to. With the looming forces of ESG and changing consumer value systems, you will be right to feel pressured to do something, maybe anything that help to show that you care about the environment and people.
Some organisations are better prepared than other but no matter your progress, or lack of it, the following stages will help you identify where you are on your sustainable journey.
Don't be discouraged by sustainability jargons. See the chance to be sustainable as your chance to innovate and add value to your organisation.
1. Assessment: Begin by assessing your current processes, practices, identifying areas for improvement, and understanding the environmental and social impacts of your operations. This can be likened to conducting a sustainable gap analysis. Your assessment will only yield an actionable result if you have a reference point. Such reference points may be a baseline you have set yourself or an industry standard that you are working towards. So let us set your goal.
2. Goal Setting: Once you have your reference point, this begomes your goal point. It needs to be a clear and measurable sustainability goals. These should align with your organisation's values, industry standards, and broader environmental objectives. It is worth noting that such goals will be easily achieved if they reflect the value of all the stake holders in the organisation: the staff, directors and shareholders. Not it's time to plan to achieve the set goals.
3. Planning: This is where you develop a comprehensive strategy outlining the steps and initiatives needed to achieve your sustainability goals. This includes resource allocation, timeline development, and risk assessment. Note that a strategy require pre and post stakeholders engagement, meaning, you consult all relevant parties who will be involved in the implementation to gather all opinions, consolidate all findings and draft a strategy that reflect the organisation's sustainability values. Once you have the final draft approved, such draft needs to be communicated across all sectors of your organisation, from your supply chain to employees, investors, managers and directors.
4. Engagement: This is where you look to secure the right individuals across all span of the organisation to champion the sustainble strategy by fostering internal and external engagement with the highest and lowests set of staff in the organisation. For example, communicating your sustainability vision to employees, suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders. Encourage their participation and commitment to the transformation. Depending on your organisation size and the mandated time frame set to acieve your goals, you may consider hiring a designated sustainability officer or even a team if needed. For most small organisations, the company’s sustainability strategy can be easily designated to the operations team as they are already familiar with the organisation'sprocessesand procedurs. You can also consider setting the admin team to champoin the communications and engagement activities depending interconnected they are woth the rest of the organisation.
5. Implementation: Now that you have assessed you current state, you havea clear understanding of the work you need to do to close your coorporate sustainablilty gap, this is where the raw work begin. At this point, you will most like be starting a system called Environmental management system (EMS), this document started with your sustainablilty strategy, it detials your starting point and all the goald you have set above. It also lists the action plans to improve on your carbon footprint. Your EMS is a working document that you updates as you go on the implementation. Part of your action plans may involve adopting eco-friendly technologies, changing operational processes, or introducing sustainable products/services. Tip: Whatever you do, see your sustainable transformation journey as a chance to innovative and improve on your old system, so your organisation needless be worse off in the mid to long term. It is important to say, that for aome industries, the transformation will be costly at first, but in the backdrop of consumer and regulators favoring low carbon solutions, you will be makig a strategic investment in future proofing your organisations postion in the wider sector.
6. Monitoring and Measurement: Regularly monitor and measure your progress towards sustainability goals. You would have identified some key performance indicators (KPIs) to track environmental and social impact, ensuring transparency and accountability. Suck KPIs might be your water consumption or carbon generated from vesicles, for some it could be number waste produced. Your initial assessment should have identified the biggest areas of improvement.
7. Adaptation: Introducing new technology, systems of work and processes can cause a lot of unease within an organisation. Your organisation will need a change management provcess to management the impact of chabge on individuals and the organisation's output. You will need to stay flexible and be willing to adapt your strategies based on feedback and changing circumstances. Continuous improvement is essential for long-term sustainability. Tip: consider changing your organisation culture towards change by adopting a LEAN-SIGMA approach. When you have a culture that welcomes change, a continuous improvement become inevitable because the people within the organisation will demand for the positive chabge once they have adopted a positive change culture.
8. Communication: Nowbtgat you have some improvements, you can share your achievements and lessons learned with stakeholders. Transparent communication builds trust and encourages others to adopt sustainable practices. Tip: you will not always have improvement or meet all your target but be sure to stay humble and honest about it, communicate your shortcoming too as they help to convey thebchallenges you are facing in your transformation.
9. Scaling Up: Once successful sustainability practices are established, consider scaling up your efforts. This might involve expanding sustainable initiatives across different departments or replicating successful models in other locations. Perhaps, you might consider bringing your suppliers onboard too.
10. Integration: This sectionnmay not apply to all but lets ssy you have kept your product offering the same through out this transformation journey, although youvhave change how you ooerste as an organisation, this is where you want to check that your sustainability stategy is baked into the identity of your organisation. For example if you are a food manufacturer, this will be thr point where you consider a long term decision on your use of plastic packaging.
Remember, sustainability is an ongoing process, and commitment to continuous improvement is crucial for long-term success. Eco Replenishers has recently launched Eco Navigator to help organisations execute a successful sustainability transformation. Should you need any further guidance, please be sure to reach out to us.