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Industry Collaboration: Achieving Broader Sustainability Goals

Within an organization, regardless of the goals at hand, organized task forces, working groups, and focus groups have historically formed to solve the most pressing issues. Going beyond the walls of a corporation, community based groups have served the purpose to plan or redesign our cities, economies, and industries- finding cures for global diseases and making paramount discoveries in science and technology. How can we merge these two parallel worlds of internal tasks for the benefit of the company and its customers with external tasks for the benefit of a broader, intragroup effort in order to enhance sustainability efforts and operational performance across economies and societies?

As a basic explanation of group dynamics: groups strive on cohesiveness and skill/knowledge sharing. Remember these when using the basic principles in moving sustainability efforts forward and working on projects and programs.

The Value of Cohesive Efforts

To be successful, groups must make cohesiveness and goal sharing a top priority.

  • Solicit diverse team members with various skills and expertise but not at the expense of disconnect in goal sharing.
  • Engage multiple industries. Each have unique priorities so be sure to align with and consider the priorities of all parties involved.
  • Leverage existing partnerships. Whether philanthropic, strategic or financial, you all got on the same boat to see the success of the effort.
  • Team up with vendors and suppliers not just to fulfill a simple task by providing a product or service, but to join you in the effort, in turn, making it easier and cheaper along the way.
  • Create a clear message. If there are gaps between members, this could damage the image and success of the effort.

Brainstorming and Idea Sharing

  • Encourage an open forum of ideas sharing. Come together to help solve a problem you are facing. It’s guaranteed that others have experienced similar issues before or have creative ideas to seek solutions.
  • Share best practices, new techniques, new products or new solutions. This is a free market and all are entitled to the same solutions. Avoid putting up barriers and thinking there is magic behind your success. Share positive experiences from certain vendors and products to work toward the common goal.
  • This is not a competition. Groups must take their competitive hats off at the door and work together to reach regional success instead of silo approach to individuals.
  • Identify opportunities to collaborate on projects or pilot new techniques and technologies.

Using this formula, here is a spotlight on how a group of companies joined community advocates to improve operational efficiency and enhance their reach of their internal sustainability programs.

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