Tag Archives: Sustainability Planning

Defining Sustainability: Triple Bottom Line

This article was adapted from this original article by New Leaf founder, Laura Bailey. A common sentiment among business execs is that being green is too expensive.  Well of course it is too expensive when you take the stance that in order for a corporation to be “sustainable”, it must focus solely on conserving natural resources regardless of costs.  Let’s take a look at a different approach for defining sustainability:  The Triple Bottom Line. Sometimes referred to as TBL, 3BL, The Three Pillars, or The Three Ps (People, Profit, Planet), it all boils down to the same basic concept:  success should be measured using economic, ecological, and societal criteria rather than profit alone.  Therefore, a sustainable business is one that operates at the intersection of Economic Growth, Social Equity, and Environmental Stewardship.  Rather than having a separate “Sustainability Strategy”, this balanced approach guides the organization to align its sustainability goals with its business strategy, or better yet, to integrate sustainability into its business strategy. The Triple Bottom Line is a powerful business philosophy.  A corporation that is sustainable by this definition enjoys profits while improving the lives of the people it is connected to and protecting the environment.   While a  Continue Reading »

How to Sell Going Green to Your Boss

Sometimes great changes within organizations begin with the ideas of employees.  After all, they are the eyes and ears of the company and commonly see the need for change well before symptoms are noticeable to management.  This is often the case when it comes to sustainability initiatives.  When pitching your idea of going green to your boss, it is important to present a professional, deliberate, and well-rounded proposal.  These guidelines offer a map for formulating your message. Align with your company’s mission/strategies/goals.  A sustainability plan should always be a part of the organization’s strategic plan, not separate from it.  Otherwise, the two plans may end up working at cross purposes and undermine the integrity of each other.  True sustainability comes when the company implements sustainable practices throughout, and not as a special project or initiative.  Show your boss that integrating sustainability strengthens the company’s existing strategy. Align with your boss’s main interests.  Of course profit is always a main interest to those in charge.  But smart leaders understand that numbers alone do not equal long term success.  What is your boss concerned with currently.  Increasing efficiency?  Streamlining processes?  Customer loyalty?  Employee morale?  Find out what has his/her attention and explain  Continue Reading »

Setting Sustainability Goals

‘Tis the season for setting goals – and setting sustainability goals should be part of your organization’s annual strategic planning.  Goals are the heart of a sustainability plan and must be more than mere boxes to check if the plan is to be successful.  The best sustainability goals are motivating and inspire innovation.  When sustainability goals are viewed as just another initiative to be managed, they eventually smolder on the back burner and can do more harm than having no goals in the first place.  Therefore, it is crucial that your sustainability goals be sensible, intentional, and purposeful. In order for sustainability goals to be most effectively achieved, they must be goals that employees can get behind.  Therefore, it is critical that top-level management (especially the CEO), be visibly supportive of the goals and the work required to achieve them.  Employee engagement is critical as well.  Goals set with employee input can be the most robust because employees on the frontlines of operations often see the greatest sources of waste and inefficiencies.  Furthermore, when employees have a hand in setting goals, they have a sense of ownership and purpose associated with the goals and are more motivated to achieve them.   Continue Reading »

Basic Sustainability Concepts and Why Businesses Adopt Them

Sustainability Planning can seem like a big, complicated, even scary ordeal to those who are new to sustainable business concepts.  Let’s break it down.  Sustainability planning is really just establishing some thoughtful goals and creating a plan to achieve them.  Goals should be given much thought and discussion and should align with the overall business philosophy and vision, and they should be challenging while attainable.  That can still seem very open-ended and indeterminate.  Let’s break it down a bit more.  Here are some basic sustainable business concepts that may help. ECO-EFFICIENCIES The easiest concept to sell, eco-efficiencies include reducing resource consumption, reducing material waste, and reducing landfill contributions through recycling and reuse.  Businesses see direct savings from eco-efficiencies.   SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES Innovating products and services that positively impact the environment and community gives companies a competitive edge.  This requires forward-thinking, entrepreneurial-minded leaders who are not afraid of taking risks and who understand the long-term impact of the products and services they sell.   STAKEHOLDER AND SHAREHOLDER ENGAGEMENT Collaborating with everyone who is touched by its products or services allows a company to truly understand what their customers want and need; what their employees need to be happy,  Continue Reading »