Sustainability Strategies: Need Of the Hour

Sustainability endeavors by corporates have gradually become table stakes although many certified financial officers see them as a cost rather than a spring of value

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Yes, the world is circumnavigating through uncultivated territory, fronting a crisis unmatched in its scope and spread. Crises in general tend to be highly vibrant in nature and can push people and businesses to the wall. They also afford many distinctive opportunities. The unidentified enemy, Coronavirus has become known enemy although it is invisible. We have a healthier understanding of the risks that have sprouted. Nevertheless, gearing up for the new normal is a big test. Therefore, we need to re-frame prevailing policies and patterns.


By now majority of the corporate entities are focusing to enrich their environmental, social and governance performance. Such sustainability endeavors have gradually become table stakes although many certified financial officers see them as a cost rather than a spring of value. Sustainability strategies can recuperate financial show by boosting any of nine mediating factors such as innovation, operational efficiency, sales and marketing, customer loyalty, risk management, employee relations, supplier relations, media coverage and stakeholder engagement. An emphasis on sustainability can glow innovation in design, process, products and services. A sustainability strategy can augment operational efficiency by reducing waste and cutting the costs. Sustainable goods and services can assist a brand stand out from the mob and upsurge market stake and sales. Customer loyalty can be improved by a sustainable strategy and people are more dedicated to purpose-led makes that make an affirmative contribution to the society. Stakeholders and corporate tycoons focus on sustainability associated risks in markets, regulation, goodwill and operations. Neglecting those risks can have substantial negative fiscal influences. Workers identify more powerfully with an entity if they trust it is socially and environmentally accountable. Associations with suppliers and contractors are often only transactional but a sustainability focus can promote a wider and more productive partnership. Media coverage of an entity's ecological and social functioning is important in consumer's assessment of an entity and their intention to buy its merchandises. A firm's sustainability actions can develop relationships with local groups and society more broadly, with optimistic financial impressions.

Companies can employ an analytic methodology called the return on sustainability investment (ROSI) method to accurately gauge the value shaped by sustainability strategies through those nine factors. Sustainability-linked monetary performance in real time and prospective return on investment (ROI) of imminent sustainability initiatives can be gauged at both the firm and branch level by implementing this methodology. ROSI analysis in the various sectors such as automotive, pharmaceutical and agriculture industries have exposed hundreds of millions of dollars of sustainability associated savings. Now let us look into the five power-packed sustainability strategies which do write the success story of every business organization.

Detect your current practicability tactics

Largely many corporate firms fail to identify and enunciate significant sustainability strategies which deal with longevity matters on which the entity has a substantial bearing or that have a weighty influence on it. Importantly, such feasibility mechanisms should be identified by all the business establishments. For instance, a logistics plan warranting that trucks or wagons are fully loaded, which may be targeted at proficiency but also lessens the fleet's greenhouse gas discharges. They should design a chart of sustainability concerns according to their significance to the entity and its external patrons. Such materiality matrix is very useful and definitely does contribute to growth story of businesses by assisting in identification of pertinent sustainability policies. For example, by deploying this plan a firm in the automotive sector can identify many vital strategies namely waste management, a focus on innovative products such as electric vehicles, water conservation, etc.

Discover the correlated fluctuations in operational practices

Traditionally many companies executed practices linked with a particular strategy without having full picture of what has revolutionized. Although it may not be easy to instantly detect which modified practices will produce financial revenues, business units should identify as many different methods as they can for each strategy without regard to their financial influence. Cross-divisional team will play a significant role in this venture. Each department or branch workforce should appraise actions taken in their zones to execute sustainability strategies. For example, if the top management has emissions decrease goals, execution workforce should look into what particular methods has management modified in order to meet the targets? Whether the management is fixing energy preservation technologies or altering manufacturing procedures? And many such questions. Top management should accelerate the brainstorming of execution level of management by offering few examples of varied practices at the beginning.

Ascertain the resultant non-monetary values

At this stage, by observing how the amendment in practices contributed to various mediating factors mentioned erstwhile, companies should discover the non-financial profits of their sustainability strategies and reformed tries. For example, a pharmaceutical company which reshaped a production process employing green chemistry ideologies may witness drastic reduction in energy, chemicals, water usage, greenhouse emissions and waste creation. Undoubtedly, enhanced waste, energy and water management increases operational competence.

Calculate the benefits

After ascertaining non-fiscal benefits, now it's time for companies to decide how to measure their financial value. They can carry that exercise by comparing fresh methods with an established yardstick. For example, in the auto industry, a team can gather data on kilograms of thinner or turpentine salvaged and re-processed, the unit cost of virgin solvent, the unit cost of salvaging and recycling solvents and the cost of water-based surrogate solvents to measure the worth of reprocessing solvents.

Compute the complete financial value

Every broad strategy contains numerous distinct practices. Business firms, by adding the monetary price crafted or lost by each of the practices in a strategy can recognize the strategies which engender the most value and where they might want to focus means. For illustration, an automotive sector company to value the profits from manufacture efficacies can multiply the year-over-year decrease in the quantity of solvents used by the average cost of virgin solvent to calculate the annual savings. It is also practical to calculate year-over-year reductions in health and safety costs, such as volatile organic compounds (VOC) associated health and workers' reparation demands. These intangible benefits will definitely add more millions to annual savings for the automotive industry company.

To conclude, above mentioned sustainability strategies if implemented professional will guide the organization to achieve the desired ROI on a project. Particularly now, as business units examine budgets endangered by the deadly pandemic, these strategies can aid the management to expand organizational finances through sustainability investments that build value for investors, employees, customers and the world at large.