Most Sustainability Directors know that managing sustainability efforts can feel overwhelming. The sustainability mindset or sustainability as a business priority are still emerging in most companies and best-practices haven’t yet been fully established. But this also means there’s plenty of room for improvement. In this article, we take a closer look at how to manage sustainability efforts in an effective manner.
Why sustainability efforts are important across the business
According to McKinsey insights, “companies where sustainability is a top-three priority on the CEOs’ agendas are likelier to pursue sustainability due to alignment with business goals (38 percent) than for building reputation (27 percent).”
The reason for this is if sustainability is a top-priority, efforts to incorporate it across the business are made evenly across management. This increases alignment amongst departments and yields better results. Companies with top-priority sustainability initiatives tend to act much more proactively on the subject. Efforts are better incorporated in business practices and sustainability is considered across all business decisions – sustainability becomes part of the fabric of these companies and enables them to handle related practices in a much more effective manner. This means efforts are often more transparent and clear, making it easier for stakeholders to understand what improvements are being made and how they affect the business as a whole.
tips to Increase effectiveness in sustainability management
What are steps you can take to manage sustainability efforts in your business more effectively? If you’re a sustainability manager or involved in internal communications and reporting, you may ask yourself this question. We’ve looked at best practices across industries and collected some of our top tips to increase effectiveness below.
Make sustainability a top priority
As mentioned in the first paragraph, aligning everyone - managers, stakeholders and employees alike - around your sustainability goals is key to ensure efforts are made and managed across the business. Making sustainability part of your core business practice makes it impossible to overlook and will help managers incorporate it in department goals. This increases traceability and commitment throughout your entire organization.
Align responsible managers across business units
Speaking of managers, to support them in their mission of incorporating sustainability efforts in their work, it’s important to offer them opportunities to sync and align more regularly than once a year when reports are in. Besides ensuring that the way reporting is done on a team or department level is consistent, they can also inspire each other on which actions to take.
Get the word out
Push the word out to everyone in the company. This could mean regularly updating your internal communication on the progress of your sustainability efforts and making it a fixed point in quarterly reviews within teams. Sharing data and tangible information is critical if managers and employees are to prioritize and reach their targets.
Actively communicate with stakeholders
Stakeholders are key when it comes to making your business a success and the same goes for sustainability efforts. It’s absolutely vital to get them on-board and increase their understanding of why you prioritize certain actions over others in order to meet sustainability targets. Managing sustainability still means incorporating new practices for most businesses – getting stakeholder support as early as possible is critical to strengthen the business moving forward.
Don’t underestimate the power of digitalization
Digital sustainability management tools can be extremely helpful when you are trying to establish new reporting routines. They can help with internal sustainability management, supply chain sustainability and reporting. Why not make the move towards more effective sustainability management with the help of a powerful digital tool? They help you save time, increase transparency, know what areas to focus on to maximize positive impact, and lead conversations around your sustainability efforts with stakeholders and employees alike. Plus, they boost alignment around your goals.
Managing sustainability doesn’t have to be difficult
Businesses that actively prioritize sustainability among business goals are twice as likely to actually incorporate sustainability practices. To make this work, executives need to make sustainability efforts a core part of their business strategy and ensure efforts are aligned across all areas of impact.
Communicating with stakeholders is key to gain support for these actions and increase transparency around what is being done to boost alignment. Digital tools can be a powerful aid in starting and rounding off this process.
Learn about how Grant Thornton digitalizes their sustainability work with Worldfavor's Sustainability Management Solution:
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