Office Design

10 Tips for Improving Your Corporate Sustainability Initiatives

David Spence
November 21st, 2013

The Best Green Corporate Strategies

corporate sustainbility initiativesBeing green is a major goal for many companies. But as important as sustainability has become, some executives can be at a loss on how to practice it on a broader scale. Below are some ideas for introducing corporate sustainability initiatives that cover the broader picture, going beyond setting up recycling bins on every floor.

1. State Your Objectives

A written sustainability mission will help your customers, employees, and investors see exactly where your priorities lie. It can also help guide you along as you formulate a long-term plan for the company’s social and financial goals.

2. Learn By Example

John Gardner, the vice president and chief sustainability officer of Novelis, suggests doing some research into what the top sustainable companies are doing on an environmental scale. Browsing the Global 100 site, which lists the world’s most sustainable companies, is a great place to start. You can take a few minutes to look over the list, and click over to the honorees’ websites for inspiration.

3. Talk to Your Customers

Besides looking at other companies, you may also want to look a little closer to home. Create a survey to learn about your customer’s thoughts on eco-friendliness. This could include questions like “How does a company’s sustainability efforts affect your willingness to use their product?” Or “What are your favorite eco-friendly companies and why?”

4. Talk to Your Employees

Your employees can also have great ideas on ways to improve your company’s sustainability plan. From the IT team to the Logistics department, each group may be able to produce suggestions that will cut down on daily waste and consumption.

5. Bring Green Into the Boardroom

Writing about sustainability for corporate boards, The Guardian’s Adam Aston suggests choosing new board members, based on their past sustainability initiatives. These individuals can help the board makes decisions with a sharper eye for social responsibility.

6. Hire a CSO

Another route is to hire a chief sustainability officer to direct the company on eco-friendly best practices. Working closely with the CEO, the CSO can make recommendations on conserving energy, choosing likeminded companies as business partners, and implementing plans for making day-to-day operations more green.

7. Turn to a Consultant

If the company lacks the budget for an in-house sustainability expert, consider working with a consultant instead. You may also seek their opinion on your company’s environmental policy. They will further refine your goals and point out other areas for improvement that you may have overlooked.

8. Connect With Other Sustainable Companies

Reaching out to environmental companies can also be an invaluable resource. You’ll have a network that can help you achieve your sustainability goals, and you can in provide your own expertise in return.

9. Hold Yourself Accountable

Create an annual report reviewing the company’s sustainability efforts. Like your mission statement, the report can help you focus on your goals. But instead of just outlining your plan, the report will provide a clear view of data that you can use to tweak and improve your initiatives.

10. Analyze Opportunities for Improvement

What is the most obvious way your company affects the environment? What is less obvious? For a car service company, for example, its most obvious effect could be the fuel consumption of the vehicles. The less obvious could be its billing practices—does it use a paper or electronic system? Take a look at your own company and see what practices, both big and small, you can change.



image credit: dan/