Chart the Course
What Resources Can Help Your Organization Start Its Sustainability Journey?
With so many options out there, identifying the right assessment tool to get you started can be overwhelming.
So you’ve decided to use your business to be a force for good. What’s next? As we mentioned in our previous article, understanding the external forces that are exerting pressure on companies to be better social and environmental stewards is only part of the equation. The next step is to assess how effectively your company is responding to these forces.
The B Impact Assessment: User-friendly but detailed, this assessment can help you capture information about how robust your social and environmental programs are. The B Impact Assessment is great for companies that are just starting out too—the comprehensive questions can help your business identify strengths and highlight gaps. If you are going all in on sustainability, this framework is the gold standard for establishing your “sustainability” baseline and setting improvement targets. The impact areas assessed include:
Governance “What your company can do to enhance policies and practices pertaining to its mission, ethics, accountability and transparency.”
Workers “What your company can do to contribute to your employees’ financial, physical, professional, and social well-being.”
Community “What your company can do to contribute to the economic and social well-being of the communities in which it operates.”
Environment “What your company can do to improve its overall environmental stewardship.”
Customers “What your company can do to improve the value that you create for your direct customers and the consumers of your products or services.”
It is a lot to digest the first time through (budget at least two hours of time), but the questions will help guide your initial steps when designing a sustainability initiative, or, for those further along on their journey, it can validate your existing efforts. Every exercise that results from working to improve your B Impact Assessment score will fundamentally shape your organization’s sustainability strategy. Companies that score 80 or above on the assessment can apply to become a certified B Corp. Becoming certified is challenging, but research demonstrates its value. Some benefits of certification include increased awareness of your brand among conscious consumers and an ability to attract and retain high-level talent. It also puts you in some excellent company.
Once your company has a good grasp of what it means to be a sustainable company, it is time to Identify your environmental priorities. It is not necessary or feasible to try to tackle everything at once. Consider the products and services you offer and evaluate your biggest impact areas. Do you want to focus on energy and water? Your carbon footprint? Packaging and waste? Supply chain? DEI and culture? Involve key stakeholders early in the process to build consensus and internal support.
Our team at Planet+Purpose Solutions is dedicated to helping organizations launch their sustainability initiatives and coaching leaders into becoming champions of change. We all need to work together to tackle our collective environmental impact and our team hopes this series of articles will help with those first critical steps of your organization’s journey.