Establishing Sustainability Goals

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Sustainability goals. For some companies, they’re part of their mission. For others, the focus may spring from economic or market factors.

More corporations understand that a focus on sustainability has positive outcomes — improved brand image, satisfied shareholders, increased productivity — and are prioritizing sustainability efforts. Wherever you are on developing and achieving sustainability goals, we have three recommendations to put you and your goals on the right track.

Define your focus and goals

It’s not easy to define sustainability goals. There are many aspects to sustainability and great opportunities across your supply chain to improve sustainability. How does sustainability fit in your overall company strategy? Maybe sustainability is new to you. Perhaps you can reframe your cost-cutting efforts from the 1980s as sustainability. Maybe you choose several goals to achieve over a longer period. Then you focus on one or two goals for the next few years.

Consider the (UN SDG) for inspiration; 192 countries adopted these 17 interconnected goals, which the United Nations General Assembly set in 2015. The aim is to achieve them by 2030. The SDG’s help you start to understand sustainability and how your company can contribute.

Set your targets

Prioritize your goals and deadlines to achieve them. To set these targets that best fit your strategy, and that are achievable and meaningful, consider the human-centered design framework that we use: Desirability, Feasibility, Viability.

Desirability: Do your stakeholders have a specific need that you must meet? Will consumers purchase your product or service based on your demonstrated sustainability efforts? Are your customers insisting on specific sustainability accomplishments in the materials you provide? Is your board of directors looking for specific, visible sustainability efforts? These factors may be a primary influencer in selecting the focus areas for your goals.

Feasibility: Which technologies and supply chain approaches can help or hinder your sustainability efforts? Knowing what technology is or isn’t available may influence your goals and targets.

Viability: How will sustainability efforts impact the cost of your product or service? Will your efforts require capital investment? Will regulatory requirements influence your efforts? As you set targets, you must understand these factors.

Achieve your goals

Do you have the expertise, knowledge, and resources to achieve these goals? To understand the UN SDG 2030 targets and how businesses can track their progress, the United Nations Global Compact has a free Action Manager tool.

We’ve partnered with many clients to develop sustainability plans and understand the opportunities and challenges of these plans. Much of our work is in support of the UN SDGs.

  • As an example, our client wanted to assess the viability of technology to help small farmers in Africa and Mexico. Using our insights approach, we uncovered options for them to use their technologies to improve crop information and yield that could reduce hunger in those regions.
  • Often clients come to us for help identifying technologies to reduce their water utilization. We uncover technologies and partners who can help our clients achieve their clean water goals.
  • We work with government agencies in the United States and abroad to increase technology transfer, adopt emerging technologies, and enable reskilling labor. Often this work includes training local staff on how to scout for technologies and solve manufacturing challenges.

Sustainability has become the responsibility of every company. Let’s talk about how we can help you achieve your sustainability goals.

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