Tuesday, October 20, 2009

3 Recommendations for Integrating Sustainability into 2010 Budget Planning

3 Recommendations for Integrating Sustainability into 2010 Budget Planning

Budget planning for 2010 is in full swing at many companies and it offers organizations a great opportunity to move sustainability more into the company's operations and culture. For competitive advantage, sustainability needs to expand beyond a marketing and branding effort. We recommend 3 steps:

1. Management offsite for sustainability. Invest a half day securing alignment on business imperatives around sustainability, especially toward customers, suppliers, product and employees. One of the goals of the meeting is to gain agreement on where the company should be by December 2010, especially in response to the rise of sustainability criteria in RFP/supplier scorecards and sustainability investments by competitors. Most firms have not been done this. We found a recent Harvard Business Review article on the 5 stages of sustainability to be an effective tool for this discussion.

2. Executive bonus. Debate and discuss the merits of allocating some of the senior management bonus pool toward sustainability and energy savings goals. National Grid is one of a number of companies which have adjusted bonus pools.

3. Written line and functional goals. Require line and functional managers (sales, manufacturing, finance, etc.) to provide a half page of written goals that relate to sustainability for 2010. Sustainability simply can't be the responsibility of the EHS, sustainability or facilities team.

Securing CEO and management team support can be difficult and outside the comfort zone of some EHS and sustainability leaders, but the competitive imperative around sustainability in 2010 is too important to let this opportunity slip.

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