Ten-Step Sustainability Program Process
Originally posted September 2011
This is a systematic team oriented process for forming a corporate sustainability culture complete with policy, services, products and procedures/operations for human health, environmental stewardship and enhanced corporate prosperity.
1) Industry-specific Research:
Prior to assessing the corporation’s sustainability status, gather publicly available information pertinent to the corporation’s industry. Consider local, state, national, and international issues and related data in the areas of Environmental Conditions, Government Incentives/Regulations, Politics, Social Concerns, Sales Market, Economic Trends and Supply Chain Materials Sourcing.
2) Sustainability Assessment Phase:
Perform a holistic and systemic examination of the current state of the corporation to identify opportunities and constraints for integrating sustainability into the fabric of the corporation. Focus on the corporation’s policies, locations, governance, staff, operations, facilities, marketing, products, sales, manufacturing relative to sustainability, profit, expense and risk.
3) Establish a Sustainability Task Force:
a working focus-group of decision makers within the corporation to provide critical input, central to the creation of a Sustainability Plan. Prioritize this work and adjust t the corporation’s work schedule accordingly.
4) Create a Sustainability Ideology:
Using teaming & workshop techniques create a Sustainability Ideology complete with Purpose, Core Values, Mission and Methodology. Establish ideological alignment and appropriate expectations within the corporation’s leadership and the Task Force.
5) Sustainability Plan Phase:
Based upon the Industry Research, Sustainability Ideology and Sustainability Assessment data, work closely with the Task Force and coordinate with the Corporate Social Responsibility Program to formulate a Corporate Sustainability Plan. Set the specific goals and actions of the Plan Begin by considering the typical areas of sustainability:
- Facilities Site – habitat protection, remediation, location selection, transportation, open space, erosion/run-off, ground coverings, and light pollution;
- Water use reduction – operations, manufacturing and landscape;
- Energy use reduction and pollution reduction;
- Materials sourcing, transport/delivery systems, reuse, recycling and waste streams;
- Indoor environmental Quality – Tobacco smoke control, fresh air ventilation, construction/remodeling air quality management, materials off-gases – volatile organic compounds, allergens, toxic chemicals, etc, artificial & natural lighting conditions, heating & cooling conditions, visual access to the out-of-doors;
- Industry specific innovation opportunities;
- Determine who will administer and manage the Plan and which departments and personnel will be responsible for its implementation;
- Identify the specific actions required for implementation of the plan on a departmental basis and account for operational, sales, and safety implementation effects;
- Set the schedule for creation and implementation of the Plan, set goals, budgets, and measureable metrics;
- Identify which locations and facilities are effected by the Plan;
- Set the budget and funding sources for creating and implementing the Plan.
6) Implement the Sustainability Plan:
Put the Sustainability Plan into action by revising the organization’s daily, weekly, monthly and annual procedures and practices to include action items identified in the Sustainability Plan.
7) Staff the Sustainability Plan:
Assign appropriate staff to execute specific portions of the plan according to their area of management within the corporation. Make these individuals responsible to monitor progress and provide scheduled reporting.
8) Establish Continuing Education and Training:
Provide internal & external learning about sustainability. Provide LEED Accreditation training for the organization’s staff.
Obtain third-party awards/certifications./accreditation for programs, facilities and individuals. Create an annual Sustainability Report and make it publicly accessible. Use modern media and the organization’s marketing & operations departments.
10) Measure and Improve:
Utilize programs like ISO 14001 to monitor/check implementation of the plan against the original Plan and re-engineer the Plan and expectations as needed for success.