How to go about setting a sustainability strategy
There is increasing pressure on organisations from investors, policy makers and the public, to broaden the scope of their annual reporting and to disclose their impacts.
A sustainability strategy can help provide direction and ambition for your programmes. But setting a strategy is not merely writing a list of projects and activities you’d like to carry out. It must consider the views of those it will impact on and what others in your marketplace are doing.
There are two key areas that need consideration before you go about setting a sustainability strategy – engaging stakeholders and peer benchmarking.
Defining both internal and external stakeholders that need to be consulted is important. These groups will be critical to the sign off and successful implementation of the strategy. You will need them to be able to give their view to engender ownership of the programme.
There are four steps to stakeholder engagement:
- Map out the stakeholders that need to be involved
- Outline the process and provide background to stakeholders
- Interview the defined groups to understand their areas of focus, expectations and ambition
- Decide on the areas that are most important to the company
Creating a benchmark to understand how the business compares with similar organisations is also important. This will give you a concrete idea of the level of ambition that may be required.
Sustainability benchmarking can allow companies to see if they are doing enough in comparison to their industry and help find areas they need to improve on, or it can show them where they might be leading the industry when it comes to sustainability.
A typical benchmarking exercise also follows a four step process:
- Identify peers
- Define metrics
- Conduct an assessment
- Present results
Carbon Clear have recently developed an online platform to simplify the process and allow users to instantly benchmark their strategy against leading organisations and others in their industry.
The Intelligent Sustainability Benchmarking Toolkit will allow you to benchmark your environmental sustainability strategy in less than 5 minutes by completing 15 questions. The online toolkit will instantly give you an Intelligent Sustainability score, sustainability benchmark and recommendations for improvements or observations of best practice.
Visit www.intelligentsustainability.com to find out more
Image by Justin Lawrence