Sustainability – Developing the Strategic Business Plan

What are some important components to think about when creating and committing to a definition of sustainability for your company or organization? Sustainability is much more of a strategic issue, and we know that companies who subscribe to a higher standard perform better.

Defining Sustainability

We spent a great deal of time talking about what sustainability means and how companies can commit to doing the right things and still see a positive economic impact on their business.

If this is a strategy that makes sense for your company there are three key questions that need to be addressed:

  1. What does sustainability really mean to your company?
  2. How can sustainability become a competitive advantage for your company?
  3. Where and how do you get started?

Sustainability Implementation Model

After recognizing sustainability is here to stay, there needs to be a commitment from senior leadership within the company that moving forward with sustainability is indeed a company wide strategy. This cannot become another program du jour, as program du jour, do not, and will not, create a competitive advantage. The bridge to get started and move to Level 2 is to assess where you currently are with sustainability. This information creates the appropriate jumping off point and with this information purposeful action steps can be established.

Here’s the link to complete the Sustainability Assessment:

Level 2: Initiate

This level focuses on what to do to get started.

In addition to conducting the assessment, we need to look at connecting the sustainability efforts to your strategic plan and shareholder/stakeholder research.

Some examples of action steps in this phase are:

  • Creating a vision
  • Creating a sustainability framework
  • Vision and objectives are communicated to the entire organization
  • A support structure is created

Level 3: Implement

This level focuses on how to roll out an initiative of sustainability to the entire organization and collaboratively align all of your employees and processes with an environmental focus.

Action steps in this phase will typically include:

  • Develop interdepartmental teams
  • Create teams, team charters, and action steps
  • Begin collaborative efforts across departments and through the supply chain
  • Begin employee training and development
  • Public communications begin through sustainability report

Level 4: Operationalize

This level focuses on why it is important to continue integration.

Creating and maintaining loyal relationships with customers, employees, stakeholders, and shareholders is critical for the success of your organization. For small and mid-sized companies it is even more critical because small business are more reliant on a fewer number of key customers, stakeholders, and employees. Creating a loyal relationship is a two way street—your business needs customers, employees, stakeholders, and shareholders in order to be a business. These are the folks who will hold your feet to the fire and make sure they are in a relationship with a company that is environmentally responsible and committed to looking for innovative ways to continue to be better today and in the future.

Interesting statistic: Studies have shown that more than two-thirds of Generation Y workers (born after 1989) say they want their employers to be environmentally friendly. And in fact, one third of allU.S.workers said they would be willing to sacrifice salary to work at an environmentally friendly firm.

What might your employees think about this concept?

Level 5: Transformation

Implementing a strategy of sustainability is never ending. However, at Level 5 we see a total integration of the strategy to the point where it is literally part of the organization’s culture. It is ingrained throughout the entire organization, within all processes and employees’ actions to the point they no longer have to think about sustainability. They just do the right thing. There is a visionary transformation of sustainability and stewardship with standards other organizations consider to be a benchmark of excellence.  All processes, people, and structure are aligned and intertwined with a culture of sustainability creating some of the best results the organization has ever seen—creating a sustainable company!

If your Sustainability Plan needs more work, then contact us at:



Phone: 402 707-4868

If you are looking for more information about Sustainability, then  join us for a special virtual event on Feb 14 & 15 at Just register for your free account with, then sign up for the virtual event at:




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About davegregory

Dave Gregory, Chief Learning Officer for Inspired Performance Solutions, Inc., believes in the power of the strengths movement. During the past 15 years, Dave managed the Learning Solutions activities of Qwest’s Mass Markets Group, including call centers, retail stores, indirect retail, e-business, collections, alternative markets and the small business teams. Mr. Gregory graduated from Creighton University’s School of Law in 1993 earning a Juris Doctor. He completed his undergraduate education receiving a BSBA with an emphasis in marketing from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 1990. Mr. Gregory has more than 25 years experience in business development and consulting.

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