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5 Stages Of Corporate Sustainability

In a recent AMR Research newsletter, John Davies wrote about five Elisabeth Kubler-Ross-like stages that a business might go through when embracing a sustainability strategy:

Desire – The need for a company to “do something” can be driven by protesters, a board member, or the CEO’s grandchildren asking what he’s doing to stop global warming.

Pride – A small group is soon assigned to address the topic of sustainability, and as they look around their company they find numerous examples of just how good their workplace environment is – people recycle, they print on both sides of paper, or they even have compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Satisfaction – The company initiates energy efficiency and waste reduction projects that all meet the financial hurdle rate and ROI requirements established by the CFO. Marketing wants to publish its first corporate citizenship report, which may or may not contain cautious but long-term emissions reduction targets.

Depression – The easy projects are done, and now management wants to know how they’re going to make money at this sustainability stuff. A NGO publicly chastises the company for not doing enough, and the core team responsible for the company’s sustainability initiatives realizes “this stuff is hard.”

Collaboration – At some point, companies realize they can’t take this journey alone and they need their company collaborating within functions and business units and to drive for more collaboration with business partners, governmental bodies, NGOs, and customers to continually revisit their strategy as it relates to their sustainability journey.

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One thought on “5 Stages Of Corporate Sustainability

  1. The journey to sustainability is no different from any other major corporate change journey. It is in many ways an evolution of what they already do, though way more complex given the lack of data, transparency and off-the-books “externalities”.

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