7 Steps Executives Need to Know to Implement a Successful Sustainability Program

If you begin researching how to implement an effective sustainability program, you will see countless case studies of businesses who have seen success. What you don’t tend to see is what happened behind closed doors for these companies to achieve their success. If you are a Procurement Manager, VP of Operations, or Sustainability Manager, here are some guiding tips on how to begin the process of implementing a sustainability program from those that have been there before.

  1. Research — Every company is different and will have it’s own unique story behind their programs, but it never hurts to ask other companies you have networked with to see how they began their programs. You can avoid pitfalls by talking with others who have been through the process.
  2. Baseline — Do your homework. Make sure you have researched within your own company where you currently stand in regards to sustainability. What programs do you already have in place? What has worked in the past? What hasn’t? Where are you experiencing service issues? Are you facing local or state regulations with which you need to comply?
  3. Scorecard — Once you have identified a baseline for your company, it’s time to create a scorecard to track success. To help with hard numbers, look into your company’s bills for the last 12 months to begin seeing the big picture on where you may be falling short and where potential cost saving opportunities may be present.
  4. Set Realistic Goals — Now that you have an overview of where you stand, it’s time to create realistic goals. If you have a large goal to meet with a compliance issue, break it down into smaller goals or steps to take. This will help your team feel less overwhelmed, and increase the likelihood of their success.
  5. Begin — Sustainability can be an overwhelming word for many companies. Knowing you need to be sustainable and actually implementing a program can be a daunting task. This is why starting small is key. Pick a small change you can make and track it before tackling larger issues within your company.
  6. Track Data — As you begin, be sure that you set into place two systems for your data collection: information on your processes and information on the outcomes of those processes. Both of these types of data are key to determining the effectiveness of a program.
  7. Reevaluate — Once you have set baseline points and are tracking your data, you can perform checks throughout the implementation process to see what is effective versus where you need to make adjustments.

Although these steps can be accomplished internally, it is highly recommended to hire a third-party company to help you evaluate, implement, and track any sustainability program. At Link International, we provide these types of services to help businesses be strategic and effective with their sustainability programs. We do the hard work of analysis and identifying the best solutions for you. If you are interested in getting started or have questions, contact us today.