Immature Management Practices Put Sustainability Goals at Risk: New Research

A growing number of companies are using public announcements of sustainability goals as a means of signaling their commitment to become sustainability leaders and to compete for superior positioning versus their rivals. But many companies are unprepared. That’s one of the findings of our latest syndicated research study, which we released today.

Despite the best of intentions, even some excellent companies are challenged to execute on the sustainability goals they announce. In our interviews with sustainability executives we found that management practices surrounding sustainability goals vary widely. So we decided to undertake this study, “Setting and Managing Sustainability Goals: Trends and Best Practices for Sustainability Executives,” to help  sustainability execs benchmark their practices and learn from the leaders.

While most companies have effective procedures for managing financial and other operational goals, processes for managing sustainability goals are still maturing. A quarter of the sustainability executives surveyed for the study say their companies have set “aspirational” sustainability goals and lack a clear plan to achieve them.

The report analyzes data from a new survey of 32 senior sustainability executives at major companies in North America, Europe and Asia. Over forty percent of respondents say progress on sustainability goals is reported to senior management only semi-annually or annually. More frequent reporting offers better control and lower operational risk, but gathering environmental data is still cumbersome at many companies.

The report finds that CEO support, operating executive accountability, ties to compensation and regular progress reporting are the best practices of managing sustainability goals. It also highlights the most common sustainability goals at leading companies and the role of public versus internal sustainability goals.

For fuller overview of the report or to purchase a copy, click here.

Feel free to post comments or questions about the report or drop me a line directly. I’d love to hear from you.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Immature Management Practices Put Sustainability Goals at Risk: New Research

  1. Joymalya Chakraborty

    From advocacy marketing point of view may sound as the Green Sheen on Share Value appreciation but if it is , it’s more on short run opportunity for a few truly growing organizations may be but an opportunity loss decision making .

    Goals , mission , objectives are mostly short runs and will vary according to the capacity but vision if at all , will not which is ” Every Day Enhancing Value ”

    Traditionally marketing speaks on the monetary and non monetary benefits with respect to costs which has multiple indirect components

    For instance a question may be raised if a few soft drinks with more inorganic dilution affecting the applied sustainability then is green drinks are more diluted with water , at least water is cost effective than inorganic components !

    The vision may me within the economic vicious cycle it’s very important to evaluate how any profits is causing more indirect cash outflow thereby causing negative returns for mid run or another debt trap for future

    Quantifying Sustainability is in every single reduction in negative energies in this planet and it’s very important to bench mark and continue bench marking every single event

    Out of Box Concept branding from the original branders is the key message needed to be crowd sourced and a positive way to support Innovation process with the transitions

    Towards commitment issue on management goals on sustainability has competitive differential advantages and threats with the time but after reaching any standards on “Setting and Managing Sustainability Goals: Trends and Best Practices for Sustainability Executives,” may be any minimum universally accepted standard decision making software can be commercialized for that desired output

    Was I able to throw some lights in this very complicated topic of research ? If at all I expect a honest feedback on my score on this out of 10

    Thanking you ,

    Joymalya Chakraborty

  2. Kye Gbangbola

    Kye Gbangbola MBA FCIOB CEnv – From Total Eco Management

    I would echo the points you make, I would also offer words of comfort and a hand to help. There is a bewildering array of information and those that want to do the right thing can be forgiven for making choices that have left them in the position of not being able to deliver sustainability to a high standard.

    As with much in life the better one is at something, the greater the benefit.
    Organisations can seek accredited training and support to report from highly trained and certified companies.

    It is important for organisations to understand the link between their activities and the world around them, and appreciate that they control the rate of change to fit with their strategic plan. Offering support that injects this confidence, whilst using universally accepted operational practices and processes. Understanding how to respond to materiality and stakeholder consultation, the common, comparable and rankable metrics in universal use that offer both national and international positioning , and guidance for measurement and the precise data sources. It is possible to report to say the global gold standard GRI based on 10 aspects of reporting i.e.

    Energy; data from utility bills
    Carbon; a conversion of energy data
    Water; data from utility bills
    Waste, breakdown of work force employed, training, etc

    The above indicates that by formalising information that perhaps the Finance department already collects an organisations can get on the path. It is the quality of the process that generates the benefits and the embedding of a sustainable orientation as part of the organisations character.

    Analogous with driving we can all report, it may be hard at first but with the right support the rewards are enormous.

    In the interests of sharing I am happy to discuss further with any interested parties and/or support the good work of Greenresearch.

    Kye Gbangbola MBA FCIOB CEnv – From Total Eco Management
    kye@temltd.co.uk

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