Ninety-three percent of CEOs see sustainability as important to their company’s future success, as found by a UN-Accenture study. But how does one embed sustainability into a company’s core culture? Dr. Stephanie Bertels of Simon Fraser University conducted one of the most extensive researches in this subject. Her findings in the 74-page report are distilled into a core framework diagram. This cheat sheet will guide you through the key points.
How to use the framework diagram? The framework has 4 quadrants. To effectively embed sustainability into your corporate culture, you should have initiatives in all 4 quadrants. See below for an explanation for each quadrant along with example initiatives. If you are starting from zero, plan for small initiatives in all 4 quadrants. If you are already executing your initiatives, check to see if they cover all 4 quadrants and analyze for any gap.
1. Fostering Commitment (Informal-Fulfillment)—Deliver existing sustainability commitments by motivating employees to get involved.
- Host internal workshops and competitions
- Include sustainability messages and success stories in communications
- Include sustainability messages in hiring and reward staff for sustainability contribution
- Share progress widely across the organization
2. Clarifying Expectations (Formal-Fulfillment)—Develop structures and procedures to implement current sustainability commitments.
- Set measurable sustainability goals at organization level, department levels, and personal levels
- Incorporate sustainability into organization’s vision and strategy
- Expand existing roles or create new roles for sustainability responsibilities
- Train staff on sustainable business practices
- Link compensation to sustainability performance
3. Building Momentum For Change (Informal-Innovation)—Develop new ideas and new practices for the road ahead.
- Form cross-functional champions team to seek innovative ideas from all levels
- Crowd-source from suppliers or customers for ideas and collaborations
- Share best practices across internal groups and at external industry events and publications
4. Instilling Capacity For Change (Formal-Innovation)—Formalize learning and process development
- Play an official role in industry conferences and policy development
- Benchmark progress with industry peers
- Incorporate sustainability deeply into business processes and systems, e.g. implement environmental management systems (EMS)
- Design new products and services that achieve industry leading levels of sustainability performance
How do your sustainability initiatives fit in to the framework? Share with us by leaving a comment below. More details of the framework are available at this website.
Derek Wong is a Toronto based sustainability consultant. See contact info and more posts like this at Carbon49.com.