It is that time of year when business plans are under review or in complete remodel for the coming year. Companies, large and small, are laying out budgets, strategies and work plans which these organizations feel will help their businesses prosper in 2016. As a sustainability communications consultant, I can’t help but ask: How does business sustainability factor into your annual planning process? What would happen if you already met your business sustainability goals?
This was the dilemma that a retail giant faced in its annual planning process. In the Environmental Leader post, The Home Depot Exceeds 2015 Carbon Reduction Goals, our sustainability communications consulting finds a next-step process in business sustainability planning. In this text we find a company having to reset the bar on its stretch goals.
“The Home Depot has reduced its supply chain carbon emissions by 35 percent in 2015 over 2008 levels… The original goal set in 2010 was to reduce energy use by 20 percent. In 2014, over 40 percent of the waste The Home Depot generated was reused for energy or recycled… In addition to outlining its 2015 accomplishments, the company announced two new commitments to be reached by 2020.”
The business world too approaches sustainable development as if there is a finish line in sight. In contrast, our sustainability consulting finds that those who excel are those who step outside the traditional business structures to allow a true step change in their long-term sustainability plan. Once business sustainability is viewed as a continuously moving pursuit, a process of goal reassessment can begin.
- Goal needs to be results based: describes the value-added result for actions.
- Goal needs to measurable and verifiable: can tell if the goal has been achieved or if progress has been made.
- Goal needs to be directed at the right level: is actively managed at the right level in the organization.
- Goal needs to have targets: in addition to present measurement, there are defines marks of future success.
- Goal needs to be cost effective: make sure the value of the data exceeds the cost to attain it.
Working with clients and peers around the world, our own experiences at Taiga Company reveal that there is an optimum balance of current goals and an open innovation culture. Proactive stakeholder engagement can facilitate a healthy stream of new ideas, which can then transform into the next level of success. Visit with us to learn how social media engagement strategies can facilitate these discussions.