The easy way to a sustainability strategy
This doesn’t concern us – or does it?
At present, we hardly encounter any companies that do not consider the topic of sustainability important and want to address this issue. The political discussions and a possible new federal government with a clear focus on the topic, which also clearly places the economy under an obligation, increase the pressure on companies to deal with this topic.
Unfortunately, it is particularly noticeable among our medium-sized customers that orientation in the jungle of the many influences of sustainability is difficult. This jungle is constantly in motion and above all so diverse, be it customer and competitive requirements, political and legal framework conditions, changing societal and social norms and environmental requirements as well as internal influences of one‘s own organization and employees. Often, several smaller or even larger campaigns (to name just a few examples from practice: Tree donation campaign, waste collection campaign, green vehicle fleet, organic menu in the canteen, use of recycled paper), but the big picture is missed and a clear framework is missed, in which these actions are sorted.
Define goals – identify plan
So how should this topic ideally be approached? Any journey into sustainability should identify an overall goal and then follow an holistic plan. To put it simply:
Every journey begins with the first step. When we start this journey with customers, our first step is clearly to define the vision, mission and strategy. This should be guided by clear values and make evaluation measurable. What is a value-based strategy? Successful companies, create value for their customers, their employees and their suppliers. Therefore, a strategic initiative is only worthwhile if it meets one of the following requirements: Creating added value for customers and increasing their willingness to pay, creating added value for employees by making work more attractive, creating added value for suppliers to reduce operating costs or risks.
Do customers and employees fit the new goals?
On the one hand, these intensive workshops are a clear investment in time, but they also require an open attitude and the mindset to break out of classic ways of thinking. Finding the right values and then developing a roadmap that keeps the added values in focus and is not subordinated by other goals such as sales turnover is just as much a challenge as preparing for the second step and involving employees and customers. Because in some cases it can also mean that customers on the one hand but also employees on the other hand are no longer a perfect fit. Not every customer and every employee fits the new values.
From our experience, an externally hosted series of workshops can use agile methods to map out an itinerary for the various interests of management that can lead a company into the paths of sustainability in a coordinated way and create added value with often more than one addressee.
Mid-sized companies want to engage with sustainability. However, you still lack the big picture and a priority of the different approaches.
Value-based strategies enable measurability of success while providing an opportunity to sharpen a holistic view of the myriad sustainability activities.
In a joint workshop, sharpen the perspective and identify the right addressees and name their added value. Be it customers and their willingness to pay, employees and their attractiveness as employers, or suppliers and their cooperation in a spirit of partnership.
Our customers always appreciate our pragmatic yet innovative solutions. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rainer den Ouden