As with any strategy, the dollars and sense of the strategy have to make sense.
The environmental and people portions of a sustainability strategy has to be able to develop an economic reason for a company to continue with it. The actions taken need to be supported by re-occurring or sustainable reduction in operating costs or an increase in revenue.
Like other strategies, you are looking at how you can constantly generate the same positive results and also show growth.
As you look at Figure 1 below, you will notice that consumers place certain connotations to a company that is following a sustainability strategy. Figure 2 shows that not only are consumers willing to pay for that ‘good feeling’ of purchasing a sustainable product, but they are willing to pay a premium for that product.
Source: Mintel Sustainable Food and Drink 2011
Source: Mintel 2011
To leverage efforts put into a sustainability strategy, many companies create specific Corporate Sustainability Reports (CSR) which make the process changes, goals, and current activities available to the public. Many publicly traded companies now have a department where it is 100% committed to implementing the environmental and people portion of a sustainability strategy. As a matter of fact, there is a now an international standard on how to write a proper CSR.
“Global Reporting Initiative, launched in 1997 by the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) in partnership with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)”(1) is world recognized standard for developing a CSR report.
I hope that you have enjoyed this short, 60,000 foot view of a corporate sustainability strategy. If you are interested in more information or on how to start your own journey, please feel free in asking me.
Next week’s topic has not been decided yet. I will most likely blog about an observation from the business world during the previous week.
(1). http://www.iisd.org/business/issues/reporting.aspx, International Institute of Sustainable Development