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Sustainability Process

        posted by , April 11, 2013

Have you ever noticed that when things go right everything seems to fall in place? Or the opposite — when things go wrong everything seems to fall apart?

Sustainability is about making everything go right for your organization. It's a process that improves social conditions, the environment, employee engagement, reputation, customer relationships and revenue.

triple bottom line

The following sustainability process is a non-sequential, continual process that can be improved with each iteration.

sustainability process

Plan Sustainability

The planning phase of the process isn't a one time thing. A grand 5 year plan often doesn't achieve as much as quick cycles of planning, execution, feedback, measurement and improvement.

PrinciplesThe founding principles of your sustainability program. Principles are timeless statements that answer the question — what does your organization stand for?
CultureOrganizational culture includes your norms, behaviors, habits, symbols, mission, shared experiences and stories. Sustainability cuts to the core of everything an organization does. Bake it into your culture.
StrategyDevelop strategies for sustainability.
Socialize StrategyEveryone likes to be part of a worthwhile mission. Sustainability can improve employee engagement. Involve everyone in your organization from the start.
Communication PlanSustainability programs are communication intensive. Identify your stakeholders and how you plan to communicate & socialize your sustainability program. Stakeholders include anyone impacted by your operations. This includes shareholders, regulators, employees, people in your extended supply chain, partners, customers and communities in which you operate.
Risk Management PlanSustainability risk management is a critical aspect of every sustainability program. Identify social and environmental risks. Develop a plan to control risk.
Quality Management PlanMeasure your product and process quality in terms that include sustainability. Manage the quality of your products and processes.
Develop Plan & ScheduleDevelop a sustainability plan. This typically resembles a standard program or project plan.
Set Measurable GoalsSet measurable goals for social and environmental targets and include in the objectives of everyone in your extended organization (e.g. including supply chain partners).
Plan for SustainabilityFinalize your sustainability plan and schedule. Launch your sustainability program or program phase.

Sustainable Operations

Execute your sustainability, risk management, quality management and communications plans to schedule. Measure results and continuously improve your processes and practices.

ReduceReduce your consumption of natural resources and energy.
ReuseReuse things to reduce your consumption.
RecycleRecycle things and offer programs to recycle your products.
InnovateDesign innovative products that reduce resource use or use safer, sustainable materials. Innovate processes to be more efficient and reduce harmful effects to people and the environment.
Manage Environmental RiskManage environmental risks associated with your operations.
Improve ProcessesContinuously improve process sustainability.
Social Responsibility ProgramsFund and volunteer for programs that improve social conditions in the community. Ensure that your own processes are fair. Ensure that the processes of your extended partners are fair.
Stakeholder FeedbackSustainability stakeholders include anyone who's impacted by your operations. This includes employees, partners, customers and communities. Engage stakeholders and use their feedback to improve your sustainability practices.
Sustainability AccountingAdopt an full environmental cost accounting framework such as triple bottom line. Align your organizational objectives to people, planet and profit goals.
Measure ResultsMeasure people, planet and profit goals and communicate results.


Socialize your results with employees, customers, partners and communities. Celebrate achievements. Identify areas of improvements and lessons learned. Renew your plan on a regular basis.

More: 40+ Benefits of Sustainability

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