Launch Your 2022 Sustainability Initiative in 4 Steps
by Shadi BannaPublished on November 30, 2021
We all need to work together for a sustainable future and as such stakeholder engagement is essential in any sustainability initiative
Align your sustainability, ESG or CSR initiatives with the UN Sustainable Development Goals to ensure maximum impact and speed of implementation
Sustainable programs can benefit greatly from an online empowerment platform to manage, adjust and report on impact
Sustainability is now a hot topic all over the world. We can see first-hand, the changing climate, increasing inequality and discontent amongst the public.
It’s time for a positive change to prepare for a better future for our upcoming generations.
Don’t you think so?
In the coming article, we will walk you through a step-by-step guide to launch your 2022 sustainability initiative.
But first, let’s explore why every corporate, government body and non-profit should plan to launch their sustainability initiative or program in 2022.
Sustainability should be a top priority for all businesses
Doing good for the planet or those around you doesn’t need to come at the expense of business profits.
Companies can do good for their communities and business simultaneously.
Clients these days are more aware and responsible. They are willing to pay extra for products and services that are sustainable. They also assign more brand value to companies that are tackling sustainability issues.
On the other hand, investors are putting more funds into business that have good ESG (Environment, Sustainability and Governance) metrics.
According to Bloomberg – ESG assets are expected to hit $53 trillion by 2025 (Source).
Banks, such as HSBC, are also providing more preferential loan rates to businesses that are working on sustainability projects – as part of their drive for sustainable finance.
So, if you can get more and better paying clients, while also getting better investment and financing opportunities, why wouldn’t you as a business focus on sustainability?
Sustainability initiatives should create real impact
Many companies are under pressure to show their clients and stakeholders, that they are addressing sustainability issues.
Unfortunately, many of these companies do activities just to benefit from the media exposure and don’t give as much concern to the real impact of their activities.
You can see this practiced by companies in the form of “greenwashing” or limited volunteering or charity work.
These kind of limited sustainability initiatives are not enough! We all need to do more.
In the past, it was hard to do more. There weren’t well defined challenge areas nor reporting standards. It was also hard for a business to manage larger scale programs manually.
With the development of online innovation and empowerment platforms – such as the potential.com platform – it’s become much easier to rollout and manage sustainability initiatives to create tangible impact.
On the other hand, the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) have become a great starting point for your sustainability initiatives.
All government bodies and most organizations know about these goals and have focused on some of them.
By aligning your efforts to the UN SDGs you can communicate more easily with your stakeholders to engage them and thus create more impact.
So, let’s move on to how you can launch your 2022 sustainability initiative.
Empowerment and Innovation are the foundation of sustainability
If we want to create long lasting sustainability and create real impact, we should focus empowering our communities and working with them to innovate solutions to our challenges.
As the saying go: Don’t give a poor man a fish, teach them how to fish.
If we can empower our stakeholders – be it clients, suppliers, partners, and everyone we engage with – to work together toward sustainable solutions, we can create more impact and innovation.
The innovation can benefit our business if we align it to our strategy.
By engaging our stakeholders through an online platform that can track and report on important impact metrics, we can use it to empower those around us to come up with sustainable innovations.
Additional resources: Watch the recording of the webinar “How to launch your Sustainability Initiative”.
4 Steps to launch your sustainability initiative
By following the below 4 steps you can create impact at scale efficiently and effectively.
1- Identify your business and impact priorities
The first place to start is from your strategy.
What is your vision and mission? How can you align your sustainability work to that mission?
What kind of sustainability innovations can benefit your business?
Here are some examples:
As long as you find a way to save energy in your manufacturing, you can save on product development costs
Assuming you empower people to manage their finances better, they can invest in your upcoming FinTech product
If you transport your products more efficiently, you can save costs and improve services
All the above examples have positive business and sustainability impact.
If you are able to harness the ingenuity of your community, you can empower them to innovate and at the same time benefit your business.
2- Identify your primary target audience
The next step is to determine who would be your primary target audience from the public.
They should have the most to gain from your sustainability initiative.
They should be able to also contribute to your cause.
Could they be youth/students, entrepreneurs, suppliers, undeserved communities, job seekers?
Think about where you can have the most impact and empowerment. Also think about which community can provide you the most return on that impact and return on investment.
3- What is the incentive you can provide your target audience?
Once you have identified your business and impact priorities and identified who are the beneficiaries that can benefit and engage with you in your sustainability initiative, the next step is to think about how you can attract them to engage with you.
All businesses these days are competing for our limited attention spans.
For that reason, you need to think about what you can offer the community as a reward for engaging with you.
Depending on your sustainability program, you might be able to offer the opportunity to invest or incubate some innovations that come out.
Or you might use it as an opportunity to identify top talent that can apply for internship positions or full-time jobs.
Alternately, you might just decide to offer prizes or recognition to the best talent / engagements.
4- Which UN SDGs are aligned with your initiative?
Finally, in order to community with your public and stakeholders in a clear and effective way, choose which of the 17 UN SDGs can be aligned to your initiative.
You might find that you want to focus on 1 specific SDG or rather find that you can address several of them.
There are many impact reporting tools and models that you can use which are also aligned to the SDGs
Taking action – your 2022 sustainability initiative
Given that you have identified the 4 previous steps, you are ready now to launch your sustainability initiative.
You can start small and have a pre-populated ready-to-go platform that aligns with your initiative up and running in minutes.
Alternatively, you can take a platform template and customize it with your content, process and branding.
Using an online platform purpose designed for community empowerment and innovation, your sustainability initiative can have large scale impact without needing large scale budgets.