2. Find the link between sustainability and commercial value
In the current economy, revenue growth and profitability remain as important as ever. One of the most damaging falsehoods that perforates discussions around sustainability is that being green comes at the detriment to the business’ performance goals. When viewed through that lens, it will never become an organisational priority.
Sustainability not only drives cost reduction through greater efficiency and lower waste but is valuable in its own right. It becomes part of your identity and supports everything from generating new business to talent acquisition and product marketing. It can become a commercial edge and integral part of your brand story that customers can buy into.
3. Putting the measurement to keep yourself accountable
Setting ambitious targets as a North Star for sustainability initiatives is one part, but you also need measurement in place to make sure that you’re moving in the right direction. The more granular metrics you attach to areas such as energy usage, machine performance and recycling targets, the easier it will be to spot areas of significant waste or inconsistencies between different areas of company operations.
We’re doing this internally with our goal of NetZero carbon by 2030. We announced this in 2020 as a means of driving improvements across efficiency, reducing energy usage, improving worker safety, and ensuring regulatory compliance. This commitment will help to drive our efforts for the next decade and inform how we support our customers, suppliers, and partners to do the same.
4. Consider the lifetime value of sustainability measures
If you’re looking for instant cost benefits from installing sustainability measures, they might not be immediately apparent. In some cases, you might even have a higher upfront cost. Sustainability is a process, not a once-and-done activity, so the priority should be to set the direction, allocate resources and look for iterative improvements in cost benefits.
As with any major organisational initiative, it’s important the executive team is aligned on expectations. These are the decisions that require a commitment to a vision and a longer-term perspective to stick with it through to realised value.
5. Small gains can have an outsized effect
Manufacturing organisations typically span multiple geographies, sites, and production lines. Tackling sustainability across these operations may be more successful on a smaller scale with a plan to roll out based on the programme’s success. What may on the surface be a smaller gain can have an outsized impact when applied at scale.
Start with the big goal and work back through the various ways that you can arrive at the goal. Be careful to celebrate the small wins that can help you build momentum to the bigger target.