It’s becoming necessary for businesses to address the climate crisis and become more sustainable. Not only to minimise risks and for climate action but also to remain competitive in today’s world.
Expectations on corporate responsibility are rising, and customers are aligning their purchases with enterprises that are creatinga positive impact. Most SMEs recognise the need and want to embrace and act on sustainability.
One barrier that often holds them back is knowing where to start. This is where a sustainability strategy comes into play which will guide you on your journey to becoming a responsible business.
Why you need a sustainability strategy
It’s clear we need every business globally to prioritise sustainability to bring about positive change. Strategies are key when it comes to bringing items up the to-do list. Think about whenever you wanted to achieve something within your business; you likely had a strategy around it to do that.
The process of creating a sustainability strategy can help you engage external stakeholders in meaningful dialogue while also driving performance within your business. Moreover, colleagues buy into it, and the strategy can help to guide investment and resources in areas that are considered most vital.
A sustainability strategy allows you to assess progress to date and analyse the opportunities and risks facing your business. By creating this strategy, you get a framework you can review. From there, you can focus on different activities and adjust to help you reach your goals.
It’s important to note that a sustainability strategy is more than a to-do list. It needs to offer focus and should be unique to your company, considering its specific culture and strengths. Below we will break down the process of creating a sustainability strategy so you can get started.
How to develop and implement a sustainability strategy
As mentioned previously, a significant barrier for most businesses concerning addressing and embracing eco-friendly practices is not knowing where to start. Your strategy is your starting point, but you may still need some help when it comes to developing the strategy. After all, each business model is different, and you need to consider your differences.
To begin, you must be clear on your vision, mission, and values. This relates to the purpose of your business, as this is a crucial pillar for creating an effective strategy. The best case scenario is that your enterprise is in business to create sustainable change. Your plan should reflect your organisation’s reason for being, core assets, and history.
This enables the strategy to create real value as it will also contribute to business growth while tackling the climate crisis. Think about your vision, mission, and values and the kind of world you want your business to help create. You should ask yourself what role sustainability practices play in driving the achievement of your mission and vision. Also, consider your corporate aims.
Pinpoint the issues that matter to you. For example, is it restoring biodiversity or protecting the marine environment? It could be empowering farmers or driving the slow fashion revolution. Identify and comprehend the issues that are significant to your business and stakeholders and act on them. You cannot tackle every issue, but your strategy can be a starting point for making waves.
Caring about the planet is not enough; businesses need to address climate change, and a sustainability strategy is the way to do this. Your strategy prioritises the issues that are most important to you and embeds them in your organisation’s DNA. You can set important targets and goals, and you have a framework to work from to monitor your progress and achieve your objectives.