By Daniel Jacob
There is no doubt that in order to ensure a future for all, businesses have to do their part in adopting better sustainable management practices, and it has been proven that companies who do encompass sustainability in their strategic decision-making garner greater returns:
“Over the course of 2020, we have seen how purposeful companies, with better environmental, social, and governance (ESG) profiles, have outperformed their peers. During 2020, 81% of a globally-representative selection of sustainable indexes outperformed their parent benchmarks”
– Blackrock, Larry Fink’s 2021 Letter to CEOs
Many companies have been contemplating the idea of creating a more responsible and fair business environment. While some organizations are taking strides in transitioning towards sustainability, many are still left with the feeling that sustainability is an overwhelming task, much less knowing how to go about it.
Sustainability intimidates corporations with substantial resources, much more small and medium enterprises who struggle to keep up with their day to day operations. How can sustainability be made more accessible for every organization?
Sustainability Diagnostic Tool
A Sustainability Diagnostic Tool is a free solution to help organizations of all types and sizes get started. The tool, developed by Changing Habits Solutions (CHS), takes the user through 21 questions organized under 4 main themes: Environmental, Social, Economic, and General. Research backed, the questions are derived from BNQ 21000, an approach developed in line with a number of various international guidelines including ISO 26000 and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
The aim is to guide organizations toward their first steps into sustainability by allowing them to assess their existing sustainability performance while providing them with both content and insights on the next potential steps.
Sustainability Starts with Assessing the Baseline
Not everyone understands what sustainability comprises. The tool guides users through 21 questions, which provides the user not only with an essential understanding of sustainability (and specific examples of how it relates to businesses practices) but also a clear baseline. Because each question leads to its respective category’s ‘levels of maturity,’ the user can see and select the appropriate action or actions towards becoming a sustainability leader.
Focus on Materiality
Because not all organization’s weak points are material—or critically important– for their business, the next step is to prioritize the options in order to identify the sustainability-related actions that will be most important.
In short, the scope and structure of the tool allows the user to get a holistic understanding of sustainability, while evaluating their organization’s performance in each of these categories. The take-away is an ‘at-a-glance’ performance rating with the next immediate actions steps to take.
The key to a successful sustainability transition is to build internal awareness: a first step is to understand what sustainability means and identify the baseline with the help of the Sustainability Diagnostic Tool. Organizations will then have the ability to ask themselves the right questions that will eventually lead to integrating sustainability at the core level of their strategic decisions, ensuring long term resilience and success.
Users agree. “”We used the Sustainability Diagnostic Tool to get a quick overview of the performance of our company’s sustainability initiatives. Its analysis was extremely useful in identifying areas which needed further focus and growth. Based on the feedback from the Tool, we have already implemented new practices to improve our company’s sustainability holistically,” said Shamindi Kumarasinghe, Head of Exports, Nature’s Beauty Creations.
About the Author
President & Founder
Changing Habits Solutions
With 10 years’ experience covering corporate finance, operations, marketing and business strategy, Daniel solidified his ability to support companies from strategic planning to operational execution. Having collaborated with over 100 companies who embed sustainability in their core strategy, encompassing Europe, Asia-Pacific, North and South America, he provides a wide array of international insights.
He founded & co-founded three start-ups and is now the founder and principal consultant of Changing Habits Solutions where he helps organizations from start-ups to multi-billion dollar companies embed sustainability in their strategy with a triple bottom line approach, and engages the entire team to deliver the solutions.
Outside of his consultancy work, Daniel dedicates his free time to serving the community by helping young entrepreneurs on their endeavour to become the next generation of sustainability champions through his work with Academos and OSEntreprendre as their guest judge and speaker for different sustainability programs.
About Changing Habits Solution
Changing Habits Solutions (CHS) is a boutique consultancy firm that helps companies incorporate sustainability strategies into their core business model and generate quantified triple bottom line results: People, Planet and Profit.
CHS’ ecosystem of experts span across the sustainability landscape and have seen over 100 businesses successfully incorporate sustainability in their business models. Their Strategies & Consulting includes services surrounding ESG metrics and KPIs, prioritization of associated initiatives, implementation and support of monitoring systems, communication and reporting. Their Inspire & Engage services include speaking engagements and corporate workshops to increase stakeholders’ support towards your sustainability program.
The Sustainability Diagnostic Tool is an entryway into CHS’ Sustainability as a Strategy™ Framework, which includes five steps: Map, Prioritize, Deploy, Communicate and Inspire. Our consultants apply this strategic framework to help organizations improve their ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) performance and start generating quantified Triple Bottom Line Results: People, Planet, Profit.
To further support organizations in building internal capability, CHS offers a Sustainability Accelerator Program that transforms the above framework into a practical 3-part workshop series. The goal is to equip participants with adequate knowledge and tools to learn how to identify the sustainability related risk and opportunities, how to prioritize the associated initiatives, build a business case to deploy the initiatives, create a communication plan to address multiple stakeholders and eventually inspire others as an industry leader.
Banner photograph by David Bartus.