How to get started with sustainability?

Mon, Nov 24, 2008

a. Get Started

Step 1: Set sustainability goals

Where do you want to be? Focus on where you want to take your business, say 2, 3, or 5 years down the road. Develop 3 to 4 goals that will make your business sustainable over a period of time. For example: Reduce energy bill by 25% in 12 months, replace all lights with CFLs by next month, reduce waste cost by 50% in two years, etc.

Step 2: Sustainability Assessment

Where are you now? Gather baseline information on what your business pays for energy, key economic, environmental and social issues. This information will serve as a baseline for measuring progress on your sustainability goals.

Step 3: Appoint a sustainability champion

A sustainability champion knows all about sustainability that can help your business achieve triple-bottom line success. This person will drive the program and be accountable for progress in sustainability initiatives.

Step 4: Create a roadmap for achieving sustainability goals

How to get there? Identify the steps you need to take to achieve your sustainability goals. Develop an action plan to translate the vision into action oriented items. A good action plan should provide goals and objectives, identify issues and concerns, recommend items and assign responsibility.

Step 5: Sustainable measures

Develop a set of yardsticks or indicators to measure progress based on the goals and roadmap. These yardsticks or indicators will highlight critical social, environmental and economic problems and provide a way to measure success in order to alleviate these problems.

Step 6: Pilot project

Start with a small pilot project. Take on easy goals first and then the difficult ones. For example, educate yourself and your employees to turn off lights after use. Do this for a couple of months.

Step 7: Check your progress

Using the set of yardsticks or indicators developed in step 5, measure your company’s progress periodically and make adjustments as necessary. Take on new sustainability projects by incorporating learning from the pilot project.

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