Sustainability goals require a clear strategy with actionable plans and well defined measurable outcomes. Specific environmental impact goals include things like publicly declared goals on reducing carbon emissions, decreasing energy consumption, diminishing solid waste, conserving water, increasing renewable energy consumption and recycling.
To achieve environmentally sustainable goals you will need determine how success will be measured. More specifically you will need to explain what people will need to do differently from what they are doing now. This involves describing the desired result and how they are expected to get there.
Sustainability requires longer term thinking, meaning multi-year goals with annual milestones which are adjusted along the way.
Companies should craft sustainability goals in consultation with internal and external experts and stakeholders, combining bottom-up and top-down analysis to produce goals that are material, achievable, quantitative and time-bound.
It is important to create a public sustainability report with goals. Making an external commitment in the form of publicly stated goals serves as both a management tool and as a route to gaining trust and credibility with stakeholders. Public sustainability goals are different from private aspirations in that they demonstrate commitment and help galvanize internal staff and drive results.
When creating a sustainability report transparency is key. Sustainability reporting is about building trust, most importantly reporting needs to address what companies will do not just what they have done.
Once you establish sustainability goals, you must manage sustainability performance to ensure that you achieve your goals. You must also determine when and how these sustainability goals will be communicated to the public.
Executive accountability and regular progress reporting are important to achieving sustainability goals. Although it is not common practice, it makes sense to tie compensation packages to sustainability results.
In crafting your goals you must remember that stakeholders don’t buy efforts, they buy results.
© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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