The path to sustainability involves two cycles that lead to continuous, sustainable improvement while also having a positive effect on a company’s bottom line, according to an article in CRO Magazine by Susan Graff, founder and principal of ERS. The first focuses on pollution prevention through cleaner production and the second on evaluating and improving the sustainability of product supply chains and vendors.Within these cycles, Graff says there are six clear steps that comprise a roadmap to sustainability:
- Establish a Company Culture and Align the Business Plan – A sustainability framework enables a company to set policy, identify significant risks, implement changes, review successes and failures, and strive for continual improvement.
- Examine Inputs – Conduct a scan of the raw materials and resources required by your products and services from a process perspective and identify the major risks.
- Evaluate Processes – The “Material Balance and Process Flow Chart” has been identified as the most useful tools for process evaluation.
- Set Priorities for Environmentally Sustainable Production – The data should now be available to set longer term priorities.
- Evaluate Products -The responsibility of a sustainable business at this stage is to examine the activities of suppliers and waste management companies.
- Set Priorities for Sustainable Design -Design for the environment, dematerialization, and biomimicry are tools that lead to innovation.