Building the business case for sustainability

‘Seven steps that could make you millions’
Building the business case for sustainability
Publ. date 19 Feb 2010
How do you ensure that your sustainability strategy actually is implemented at all levels in the organization? The core is in motivating and involving managers and employees with a core message which aligns with their targets and reality. Concurrently this often happens from the passion of the GreenTeam which communicates too much from their own world. It is key also to fulfill the financial wishes of the organization. David Bent of Forum for the Future recently published a shortlist with seven steps to support the business case for sustainability, rooted in his experiences at British Telecom.
  1. Determine your scope and justify it: The scoping of projects often is a weak spot. Do you look at the entire organization or only a project or initiative? And why do you investigate this? How will the results be used?
  2. Prioritise value drivers: Is it about increasing revenues; reputation management; margins; cost reduction; risk management?
  3. Identify the relevant business case: Every value driver potentially has different possible business cases. And what is the causality? How does A lead to B lead to C?
  4. Choose the financial technique: For every type of business case there is the need for an appropriate financial technique. What speaks most to your internal audience? Where possible, use the same method as they do. 
  5. Execute the financial analysis: Elaborate the financial justification in collaboration with the financial department.
  6. Apply your findings in the business: The reason of your inventory you have identified in step 1. Now that you have it, use it.
  7. Learn and embed: What have you learned from the exploration of the business case? How would you approach it in the future? Is there a need for a structured information management system to collect the data? And in which way will the results be embedded in the decision making processes?

In order to scrutinze your current sustainability strategy, Finch & Beak developed a set of challenges to support C-suite executives and ESG investors, which we call 'the dirty dozen'. The 12 questions are intended to have a closer look at the current status of your sustainability strategy, and to identify the weak spots. Start asking the right questions, because it's useful to determine if your company is on the right track. Are you capable of answering the 12 questions? Do the check with our dirty dozen Slideshare below.

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