1. Know where you are
The first step of any successful strategy is to establish a baseline. It helps you take stock of where you are, identify what has worked and, most importantly, what hasn’t. Have you set the right targets for your goals? Are your processes delivering results?
2. Focus on what matters to your organisation
Most organisations fall into the trap of working across several areas of sustainability all at once. Yet by accepting the realities of time and resource constraints, an optimised approach is to prioritise one or two areas. Be selective in where to focus your attention by considering what is important for your customers and staff.
3. Gather the right data
You can’t manage what you don’t monitor. Set measurable targets, gather the right data and track progress. One client, for example, identified the importance of capturing uniform data across different sites to develop performance indicators. This allowed them to compare the carbon intensity of each location and prioritise their investments in low carbon technologies.
4. Invest in the process, not just the goal
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Adapt, refine and use the systems and processes you already have and with which your colleagues are familiar. These could be environmental management systems, health and safety systems or procurement processes. Establish dedicated project teams to drive progress and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders.
5. Be action-oriented
Solid action plans generally work better than strategies that are 90% background and policy. Initiatives that set challenging targets and are backed by a strong plan will motivate teams and help them to see how they are contributing towards success.
6. Don’t let perfection get in the way
Be ready to adapt and alter direction as your organisation changes or the operational environment evolves. Be open to changing your plans in response to what the latest data is telling you.
7. Whether good or bad news, report progress.
Providing regular reports demonstrates transparency and accountability. Involve stakeholders on the journey by being open about both your successes and your challenges and encourage dialogue.