A Guide to Developing a Sustainability Action Plan for Your Business

factory smoke

Any business or organization that wants to reduce its carbon footprint and become more socially and environmentally responsible needs to have the right plan first. With a solid sustainability plan, all those actions and ideas can be difficult, or nearly impossible, to implement. It further guarantees that the project will be maintained in accordance with the right sustainable practices.

If this is your first time running a sustainability project for your business, be ready to shell out a lot of sweat and time to develop a well-structured action plan. Read on to learn how to start creating an ideal sustainability plan that relates to your business.

1. Research about sustainability

Before doing anything else, you need to first learn about sustainability and check if it relates to your business. Utilize the best available resources out there regarding sustainable and renewable energy and sustainability in the business industry.

Keep in mind, though, that going sustainable is quite different from going green. Considered as a broader concept, sustainability relates to the multifaceted and long-term implications or impacts of certain products and services. Going green is about the straightforward reduction of environmental impact. Nevertheless, you can utilize green language in your plan or market green goals to measure your sustainability success.

2. Create a vision

Coming up with a good sustainability vision goes beyond your business plan rounds. It actually sets the foundation of the entire business strategy and clarifies which direction a business should move to. Your vision should clearly define the characteristics of sustainability that make up the sustainability mindset, beliefs, and worldview.

To give you a clearer picture of what your vision should be made of, here are some guide questions to take into account: How your products or services can impact the environment and the people? How do your current business operations, behaviors, and strategies address unfavorable sustainability impacts? What is your significant impact on society?

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3. Determine areas for improvement

Next, start an assessment of the areas or aspect of your business that requires sustainable improvement. Get a baseline and determine how the workplace best practices perform against how your business operates. In addition to that, check your compliance. Is your company currently compliant with standards and laws in place? Do you need to improve compliance with pollution-prevention techniques?

Also, check if you need sustainable solutions in your operations, from the equipment to the products you use. For instance, you can avail of an in-service hydraulic oil chemical solution for your equipment lubrication or oil extension, helping you reduce waste or decontamination. Or more simply, you can replace the workplace’s landfill bins with recycling bins for an eco-friendlier way. No matter how sophisticated or simple that is, improving one area at a time can already do wonders.

4. Break it down

In case there is an action on your sustainability plan that is too broad, come up with smaller actions that can still give you the same desired outcome. For instance, if one of your actions is suggested as “Reduce waste tonnage,” break it down. Some small actions you can consider are going paperless, reusing file folders and binders, establish a recycling center, or placing recycling bins.

In that example, you can also opt to assign the sub-actions to your departments to make the work much easier. For instance, you can let the marketing department produce the sustainability educational posters for the bins, assign the operations to collect the recycling tonnage and waste from last year, and have the catering department audit the food waste volumes for the week.

5. Implement the changes

As some say, implementation or execution is often the most challenging part. But that doesn’t mean you should worry at all. To make sure everything goes smoothly, you should focus on educating your employees about what is entailed in your plan. Be sure all leaders are also involved in communication.

Furthermore, review the performance by developing attainable, measurable, and specific written goals. You can also create metrics to help you monitor the progress of the sustainable changes, whether it may be about the new recycling bins you got, the energy-efficient systems you’ve installed, or the new policies you’ve created.

Keep in mind that this suitability plan is living paperwork that will continue to evolve as your goals and practices improve and change for the better. Along the way, you might find some things that you need to drop or other aspects that should be of higher priority than before. Nonetheless, be sure to always update your action plan and keep it as concise and clear as possible so anyone who’ll read it can understand what’s entailed. Who knows, you might have business partners who are interested in using it as well, right?

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