People within Corporate Sustainability – Part 1 of 4

Due to the fact that the people portion of a corporate sustainability plan is  large, the topic will be broken down into 4 different entries.

When you think of ‘people’ and how it fits into a corporate sustainability plan, how do you define ‘people’? Is it employees, customers, suppliers, investors, government, or the community that the business is located? What if I told you that it is ALL OF THE ABOVE?

Each group of people need to have the proper leadership and accountability placed to it. Consider ‘people’ as a wheel with each element being a spoke that keeps the wheel strong and durable. If any portion of the relationship is weak, the entire integrity of the wheel can be compromised.

Employees are, of course, the people hired to perform certain duties for the company to operate. Without a strategy to hire, develop, lead, engage, and retain your employees, your company would find itself in a cycle of hiring and rehiring people which will be taxing on your culture. It takes a collection of people to create a culture while only one person to change it. A strong corporate sustainability strategy requires companies to develop and implement a plan on how to better deal with their employees.

Personally, I consider a subsection of the employee portion of a sustainability strategy to be governance. Governance is known as the processes and norms used to define how an organization, in this case a company, will act and make decisions. A strong element of governance in a corporate setting involves corporate policies and the board of directors. Board of directors use their past experiences to set policies and procedures which will direct the company into a certain operational and strategy direction.

For all initiates within the people portion of the corporate sustainability plan, there is a goal for each action. That goal is monitored, of course, by a separate Key Performance Indicator (KPI).

Next week, we will look at how the customer fits into a corporate sustainability strategy.



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