20 May 2021

Five steps towards a sustainability strategy

As more countries around the world are shifting toward a circular economy, the business community is also expected to work within the ecological boundaries. This tied with consumer demand for sustainable products and services, makes sustainability a top priority.  Businesses that ignore this environmental responsibility will get called out, having a detrimental impact on their reputation.

Chris Bischoff, reputation manager and sustainability specialist at Reputation Matters, shares five steps to successfully adopt a sustainability strategy on all levels of business.
  1. Establish your environmental policy: Your environmental policy is your overarching vision for how your company will fully own its environmental and social responsibility. Like your vision, it is one sentence that everyone should know.
  2. Leadership should walk their ‘environmental talk’: The leadership team needs to be the driving force that will ensure that the environmental policy and subsequent environmental management plans are implemented throughout all areas of the business. Management needs to lead by example and ensure that it is implemented by all employees.
  3. Your employees are your environmental ambassadors: Ultimately your employees are the ones who will determine whether implementation of the environmental policy and sustainability strategy is successful. As with any company policy, it is important to ensure that your employees receive enough communication and training to know how things are done according to the environmental policy. It is also really important to communicate the ‘why’ of your environmental policy. Employees need to understand the value of sustainability, for business and the environment.
  4. Business partners affect your sustainability: Your business is not just confined to your office; your business is your entire supply or value chain. Do you know if your business partners along every point in your supply chain are complying with your sustainability strategy or environmental management plans? Communicate your environmental policy and plans with all your business partners and find out what they are doing to comply with your strategy and what their environmental policy is.
  5. Measure buy-in from your stakeholders: It is valuable to understand what your stakeholders know about your company’s sustainability. Reputation Matters has specifically design a research model, the sustainability check, to provide you with insight into your different stakeholder groups and their perceptions and understanding or your company’s sustainability strategy. Having this insight will help you communicate your sustainability strategy with your different stakeholder groups.

“Communicating your sustainability strategy increases support from your stakeholders, forces them to comply with your environmental policy and management plans, and will improve your reputation as a sustainable business,” says Bischoff.

Here is a webinar hosted by Chris Bischoff on the subject: ​Your sustainability strategy to build your reputation

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