Executing a business sustainability strategy is more important than ever and is essential for the long-term success of a company.
Not only does it help in the development of your business vision and strategy, but a sustainability strategy will also help to reduce unnecessary costs through the implementation of leaner and smarter processes.
This article was written by Bongiwe Mbunge, Partner at Mazars.
With so much change occurring though, some medium-sized businesses could find the development of this strategy daunting and feel they lack the needed resources to create a sustainable strategy.
This can however be overcome by aligning your company’s goals to what sustainability really means. That way you can create a strategy that is both achievable and manageable.
1. Start the conversation
It’s important to have conversations around sustainability with many parts of your business. This can range from senior management to newly recruited staff.
By speaking about current topics, not only do you get an opinion from others, but it also starts to unpack a business case for sustainability that can be tailored to meet all needs. As soon as all issues are on the table, owners often find themselves already on the path to finding necessary resolutions.
2. Identify and engage stakeholders
Your stakeholder engagement strategy must recognise every person, group and company your business interacts with. Having a strategy that formalises how you comment on proposed legislation, or for example, how you interact with local universities, colleges, or supply chains is essential to building a sustainable business model.
Not only are external stakeholders important, but so are those internally and when it comes to influencing your sustainability strategy, your biggest stakeholder is people. Having fluid lines of engagement within your business is crucial if they are to buy into the vision and feel empowered enough to act, independently and as a team.
If a business has straightforward employee education initiatives, it can save on expenditure as well as significantly reducing a company’s carbon footprint, resulting in exceeding its sustainability targets.
3. Communicate clearly and consistently
While putting in place the elements to launch your sustainability strategy is a starting point, clear and consistent communication an essential component to ensure better chance of success.
Consistency of message is, whether it is in frequency of communication or the methodology underpinning the sustainability strategy is important. Crucially, stakeholders need to know how the company’s strategy adds value to the business and a well thought out communication plan is the best way to unlock the value in this.
Overall, businesses embarking on developing or improving a sustainability business strategy, taking a positive approach that breaks those elements down into manageable and achievable actions is a key step in kickstarting any sustainable journey.