A Checklist for Embedding Sustainability in Your Company

March 08, 2018

In addition to contributing to thought leadership and highlighting new resources that we make available, we also like to use our blog to share interesting content from other companies, media organizations, professional associations, NGOs, etc. There is an incredible wealth of information out there, and we believe in the value of sharing knowledge that helps to improve your organization and community, and to make the world a better place.

In this post, we share a checklist that can be used to embed sustainability in your company. The content is from the BSR report “Redefining Sustainable Business”. The report provides a blueprint for putting sustainability at the center of business to enable companies to play their part in the creation of a just and sustainable world. It focuses on how sustainability is implemented with regards to strategy, governance and management.

The report draws upon insights from multiple sources, including: lessons learned from thousands of projects with hundreds of BSR member companies, 50 detailed interviews with sustainability leaders, results of the 2017 BSR/GlobeScan Survey on the State of Sustainable Business, and a review of key literature.

According to BSR, resilient business strategies will be most effective if they are based on an “act, enable, influence” approach to strategy, governance and management. This “act, enable, influence” framework is BSR’s blueprint for the future of sustainable business.

The checklist categorizes items according to the “act, enable, influence” framework. Get acquainted with each item and determine if your organization addresses them as part of its efforts to embed sustainability.

ACT: Create resilient business strategies, governance and management approaches that ensure achievement of sustainable business goals.

  • Create resilient business strategies that account for disruptive change
  • Deploy strategic foresight processes and future methodology
  • Proactively communicate resilient business strategies with investors
  • Use sustainability solutions as a business development opportunity
  • Strengthen board stewardship of sustainability
  • Recruit and develop board-level sustainability expertise
  • Align incentives with sustainability performance
  • Build new leadership competencies

ENABLE: Catalyze sustainability action by building mutually beneficial relationships and collaborating with stakeholders and partners across the whole value chain.

  • Collaborate with stakeholders to address systemic sustainability challenges
  • Use stakeholder relationships as a source of innovation
  • Engage a broad range of stakeholders beyond the “usual suspects”, and use business functions beyond the sustainability team
  • Develop coalitions to advance progress on major sustainability challenges
  • Provide disclosures that inform diverse audiences
  • Focus company reporting on value creation and performance improvement

INFLUENCE: Promote policy frameworks that strengthen the relationship between commercial success and the achievement of a just and sustainable world.

  • Identify the legal and policy instruments that support sustainable business
  • Align business strategy, sustainability and government affairs agendas
  • Demonstrate sustainability as an enabler of business strategy and social benefit
  • Communicate internally and externally about company ethics, vision and values
  • Advocate for sustainable and resilient business models
  • Advocate for sustainability policies at the regional, national and global levels

We hope you find this checklist useful. Download and read the full BSR report to learn more about putting sustainability at the center of your organization.

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