What do you want your business to look like in the future? Do you want it to be sustainable and environmentally friendly, or is that just an afterthought for now? This post will guide you on how to set goals for sustainability and follow through with a plan that will get you there!
Are You Ready to Become a Sustainable Business?
This article discusses the importance of setting sustainable business goals. It talks about what those goals should be, where they come from, and how they’re achieved. It also recommends tools and resources on ways to achieve these goals and suggests creating benchmarks so that progress can be measured. For instance, some tools or concepts to consider include the Natural Step or Life Cycle Perspectives discussed in the following blog posts. You can review them along with this guide to give you an overview of how to implement sustainable business practices in your business. Below are the links to these blog posts:
Where Do You Start?
The first step is to determine your sustainability goals. Think about the company you want five or ten years from now and what it will look like in terms of its environmental impact, its financial situation, and how sustainable it is.
It’s also important to think about where the idea for these goals comes from. You may have some ideas already, and if so those should be included in your goals. But consider taking time to consult with employees or customers about what sustainability means for them as well – this will provide you with a more diverse set of opinions that can help you create better-informed plans.
The next step is creating a plan to meet those goals. This might include making some changes to your company’s infrastructure, such as purchasing sustainable products and changing the way you produce or consume energy in order to decrease greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).
The third step is implementing the plan by focusing on one area of sustainability at a time, such as reducing waste and increasing recycling – making sure that all those changes are done in a way that doesn’t throw your business off balance.
Monitoring progress and measuring it against benchmarks for success will help you stay on track – like reducing office paper consumption by 50% in six months! Celebrating when you hit milestones keeps people motivated, so try coming up with creative ways to reward yourselves at each accomplishment along the way.
Repeat these steps every time you need to start a new goal or revisit an existing one that’s not going so well, and your company will be moving on a sustainability path.
Setting Goals for Sustainability: A Roadmap
1. Determine your business’s sustainability goals
This is the first step in any sustainable strategy, and it’s important to map out your goals before you begin. To do this, ask yourself these questions:
– What are my business’ values?
– How does sustainability align with those values?
– What environmental problems am I trying to solve by making changes within my business?
– How can I demonstrate that sustainability is a part of my business strategy by telling the story of how it has helped make me successful and profitable.
This will help you determine what your company’s core values are, as well as which environmental problems your sustainable efforts should address in order to be effective. It also shows other businesses why sustainability matters to yours and provides evidence for investors about ROI potential when they evaluate your opportunities. – What operating practices do we want to change or improve with regard to managing our impact on society, people, communities, animals, natural resources?-What operational changes need to happen within the company so that these goals become reality?-Who needs buy-in from whom (e.g., management, employees, customers) to make these changes happen?
-How do we communicate these goals and needs internally and externally (e.g., investors, community members)?
-What resources will be needed in order to execute the aforementioned operational shifts when they are made? – Create a checklist of measurable targets that correspond with your sustainable business strategy so you can track progress over time. This includes both interim objectives as well as long-term sustainability goal metrics such as reduced environmental impact per dollar spent or increased number of people who have access to clean water.-Establish cross-departmental teams responsible for tracking their respective target’s performance against the other team’s indicators every month.”
-“It all starts with setting clear SMART goals; specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. Next comes the work: to achieve them.”
– “The next step is to be sure that those goals are shared with one another; this ensures team accountability for results as well as making it easier for everyone in your organization to understand their role in the larger picture of implementing sustainable practices.”
-What additional resources will you need? How can you create a culture of continuous improvement?
-How do employees get involved in sustainable practices beyond their jobs?
2. Create a plan to meet those goals
This part of the process is where you put all your sustainability goals on paper. It’s a good idea to decide what metrics you will use for tracking progress in meeting those objectives, as well as assign responsibility for that objective. For example: “Decrease water consumption by 20% over next three years while maintaining an excellent customer service rating and be prepared with resources should this decrease not occur.”
Meanwhile, some businesses find it helpful to create measurable targets—for instance, they may set a goal to reduce total energy usage by 15 percent over five years or cut landfill waste disposal volume by half within two years. The key here is being specific about how much change needs to happen each year so there’s no question whether or not a goal is being met.
As you create your plan to meet those goals, it’s important not just to think about the objectives themselves but also how they will be measured or what metrics should be used for tracking progress in meeting them.
3. Implement the plan by focusing on one area of sustainability at a time
It is recommended to implement the plan by focusing on one area of sustainability at a time. One such sustainable practice which can be implemented with ease and minimal risk is reducing waste and increasing recycling.
Establishing a baseline for your company’s waste levels will provide you with an idea as to what areas need improvement in order to increase efficiency (and reduce costs). For example, if you typically generate 100 pounds per day of trash from coffee cups or other disposable items, then it would make sense that targeting this particular issue would yield the most benefits within the shortest amount of time.
It is also important to set goals for sustainability. Setting and tracking progress towards your goal will provide you with a sense of accomplishment, which in turn motivates you to keep going.
It’s easy enough to find someone who has already achieved success on their own journey towards sustainable practices – look no further than the numerous corporations that have made commitments and are living up to them: Coca-Cola, Walgreens
and many more legacy companies from around the world all lead by example when it comes to setting realistic targets and achieving results.
We recommend dividing your plan into manageable sections or “phases” so as not to get overwhelmed by the scope at once. Once this initial phase has been completed successfully, you can then move on to the next.
4. Monitor your progress and measure it against benchmarks for success (e.g., reduce office paper consumption by 50% in six months)
If you want to be a sustainable business, there are certain goals that you need to track and measure your progress against. For example, say one of your sustainability-related goals is reducing office paper consumption by 50% in six months. You would need to monitor this goal by tracking how much paper you use and comparing it against what your usage was six months ago. You might also want to measure the amount of time that employees spend on tasks that don’t involve using paper, such as emailing attachments instead of printing out a document for someone else to read.
If you’re looking to improve your company’s sustainability strategy or simply learn more about sustainable business practices, check out these resources:
– The U.S. Green Building Council provides information on green building certification programs and other related topics at their website;
– Business for Social Responsibility is an organization dedicated solely to helping companies make socially responsible decisions and become leaders in social responsibility; and, lastly…
– The American Sustainable Business Council is the leading voice for sustainability in business.
– Make sure your goal is clear and specific, with a measurable benchmark date to track progress by;
– Review all of the areas where you can make changes that will lead to greener practices (e.g., transportation costs) or more sustainable products on offer; and, lastly…
– Keep at it! Sustainability takes time but has many benefits for both people and the planet alike. Remember these next few tips when setting goals for sustainability in your company:-Make sure your goal is clear and specific, with a measurable benchmark date to track progress by.
5. Celebrate when you hit your milestones!
Goal setting is a powerful tool that can be used to help you achieve success in your sustainable business. Although it might seem like the goals are endless, there are some best practices for goal-setting that will lead to more satisfaction and fulfillment than if you don’t set them at all. Celebrate when you reach milestones on your journey to being a sustainable business!
The first step to goal-setting is creating your SMART goals. For a sustainable business, these will be different than for businesses that are not sustainable. When you create an eco-friendly product or do something green in the office, does it replace what was done before? If so, then this would be considered incremental and not revolutionary change (although every little bit helps!). In order to make real progress on sustainability in any company or sector of society, we need radical changes. Radical change requires setting ambitious targets such as using only clean technologies by 2030! in agriculture.
One way of measuring success is by setting and tracking goals. There are three main types of sustainable business goals:
The first type is immediate, such as reducing the number of kilowatt-hours used at a certain time or eliminating all toxic chemicals from your products by 2020;
The second type is intermediate, like recycling 100% of packaging in five years or sourcing 50% renewable energy by 2030; and
The third goal type is transformative – for example, achieving carbon-neutrality by 2050 or transitioning to clean sources entirely within 30 years.
Immediate: Reduce the number of kilowatt-hours used at a certain time or eliminate all toxic chemicals from your products by 2020
Intermediate: Recycle 100% of packaging in five years or source 50% renewable energy by 2030
Transformational: Achieve carbon-neutrality, transition to clean sources entirely within 30 years.
Goal setting is an important step in creating a sustainable business strategy because it helps you chart your course and keep on track–whether that means cutting back on energy usage, reducing the amount of packaging thrown away, or switching to renewable sources for power. And when goals are met, celebrate! It’s one more way to ensure sustainability stays top-of-mind all year round.
The only real obstacle is that some of the necessary changes are expensive and inconvenient to make in the short term–but don’t let those reasons stop you from making them! If recycling costs more than throwing garbage into landfills then recycle as much as possible even if it’s not perfect – whatever prevents climate change should be done first before worrying about “perfection.”
When setting goals for a sustainability think long-term rather than just immediate results because sustainable practices and business models will take time to establish themselves but they’re worth it! Ask your employees what their favorite part of the company culture is or what makes them feel most fulfilled: this provides insight on how best to foster an environment of sustainability.
If you’re struggling to find the right sustainable practices or business models for your company, contact us and we can help with both technical and creative aspects of designing a successful sustainable model that is unique to your situation. For now, you can use these tips as stepping stones on your journey towards sustainability!
6. Repeat steps 2-5 with each new goal you set for yourself or whenever you feel like you’re not making enough headway towards an existing goal
Goal setting for sustainability is a complex and ongoing process, but it doesn’t need to be overly complicated. For your sustainable business, you can follow the above steps and repeat steps 2-5 with each new goal you set for yourself or whenever you feel like you’re not making enough headway towards an existing goal. They’ll help you find new and creative ways to think about your business’s sustainability.
Steps for Setting Sustainability Goals
– Gather information on what is sustainable in the area of your industry or market niche (ex: fair trade, organic materials)
– Research other companies that are successfully using successful practices in this area (i.e., Nike with their sustainability campaign; )
– Create an action plan based on these ideas so you can create goals whether they be small steps or more long-term plans. Start with something easy like changing up packaging or incorporating renewable energy sources into the office building first!
The best way to keep track of progress for these goals is to have a set time where you review your progress and update the goal with any new information. For instance, every quarter at the beginning of each month takes a one-hour block out of your day or week to go over what has been accomplished so far in this area as well as brainstorm some ideas for future actions.
Steps for Tracking Sustainability Goals
– Decide on an overall sustainable goal that will be measurable by something concrete like reducing CO emissions by X% in Y amount of time
– Create milestones that can give you benchmarks along the way which are smaller steps towards achieving larger goals (ex: lowering paper usage)
– Pick two things from those milestones to track every week; this could be a qualitative measure like making your office more sustainable or a quantitative one like measuring how many pounds of paper you use in a week
– Review what these two metrics look like at the end of each month and adjust for next month accordingly. If it’s too hard to track them weekly, then change it to monthly instead
– Revisit goals every three to six months and reassess what you’re doing
Going solar is one of the low-hanging fruits of becoming a sustainable business. You can explore your options or even use a solar calculator just to establish how much you can save in terms of your carbon footprint or savings achieving in lowering your electricity bill. Check out this solar calculator for more details.
This is the end of this blog post. Thank you for reading!