Building a shared roadmap for Sustainability
IntroductionSustainability is not a fashion or trend; it is a new business model for any type of organisation. In specific, sustainability is the responsibility of organisations for their impacts on Society, Environment, Marketplace and Workplace.
Through this article, we are going to explore the fundamentals of sustainability and we will deploy a brief analysis of the major steps of implementation.
By creating a shared roadmap for sustainability, we could reach a huge betterment and enhancement of our endeavours towards the achievement of sustainable organisations in the near future.
Basics of Sustainability
Sustainability is a new way of life we all need to embrace. In specific, sustainability looks to protect our natural environment, human and ecological health, while driving innovation and not compromising our way of life. From an organisation’s point of view, sustainability is a business approach to create long – term value by taking into consideration how a given organisation operates in an ecological, social and economic environment. We could claim that sustainability is a new business model making organisations responsible for their impacts on society, environment and economy.
Another term being used by the business community to depict the notion of sustainability is environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG). This refers to the three key pillars of measuring the impact that an organisation has on the environment and society. As social and environmental consciousness is spreading all around our lives, companies and organisations must move in a different direction in order to generate long-term value for both shareholders and stakeholders, taking into serious consideration the three pillars of ESG. To be more specific, these pillars refer to:
– Environmental (E): issues related to the environment, living and non-living natural systems (greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, water and wastewater management).
– Social (S): issues related to society, the rights of individuals and the well-being of the communities within which an organisation operates (equal opportunities in the workplace environment, health and safety, labour rights).
– Governance (G): issues related to an organisation’s decision-making processes, management practices and corporate governance structure (remuneration policies, the anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies, board structure and diversity).
The deployment of our methodology with regards to sustainability consists of the following four crucial steps:
– Business model: A comprehensive understanding and thorough analysis of the existing business model of the organisation.
– ESG: Realizing Environmental, Social and Governance as the basic pillars for sustainability.
– KPIs: Generating Key Performance Indicators to measure sustainability (metrics / monitoring).
– SDGs: Categorizing the Sustainable Development Goals, which are relevant to the organisation.
Analysis of each step based on organization’s structure and needs is mandatory to lead in a successful roadmap to sustainability.
Depiction of the business model of the organisation in order to get a crystal clear overview of the whole body and understand in which part of the organisation we can operate more sustainably or even 100% sustainably. One of the most popular methods for practical implementation is the Business Model Canvas (BMC). It allows the compact visualization of the nine basic areas of an organization on just one page. Only through this integrative approach:
– All areas of the organisation can be identified at a glance,
– The boundaries between the individual units in an organisation dissolve,
– A comprehensive understanding of the main drivers of entrepreneurial activity is created,
– The interrelationships cause-effect relationships and weak points of the organisation’s own business model become clear and understandable.
Business model in simple words is a map showing how an organisation uses its resources to offer its customers higher value than the competitors do and how it makes profits from these activities in case the organisation is profit-oriented. Analysing the business model of an organisation and identifying the parts where the organisation can operate more sustainably is the first step of a big journey on a sustainable way of working. As we have shown above there are many parts of the organisation that can be changed and they are core elements in achieving our sustainable goal.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
The development of certain Key Performance indicators (KPIs) which are categorised in accordance with the three pillars of sustainability is mandatory. The organisation will set specific targets, specific KPIs ideally numerical ones, and then monitor the results. This is the concept of reporting which can be performed on an annual basis. After the monitoring, the organisation will make relevant adjustments, reset targets and re-evaluate its whole sustainability strategy, if needed.
SDGs and key activities overview
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. The SDGs, set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and intended to be achieved by the year 2030, are part of UN Resolution 70/1, the so-called 2030 Agenda.
In general, SDGs refer not only to countries/governments but also to individuals and any private and public organisation. On a country’s level, it is of great importance to follow the directions towards the achievement of the goals but at the same time, any kind of organisation could be aligned with the SDGs. By stitching countries and organisations together, we could deliver the best possible outcome towards the achievement of SGDs. The key activities of the organisation could be corresponded to the relevant SDGs.
European Green Deal
Apart from the Sustainable Development Goals, European Union tried to set out its needs and priorities on the climate and environmental challenges the world is facing by creating the so-called European Green Deal. It depicts a set of policy initiatives brought forward by the European Commission with the overarching aims of making Europe climate neutral by 2050, boosting the economy through green technology, creating sustainable industry and transport, cutting pollution.
We can claim that if an organisation gets actively involved in relevant actions, it can turn climate and environmental challenges into opportunities, which will result in maintaining a sustainable microenvironment for the organisation itself.
Up to this point, we have analysed all the major steps to be followed by the organisation for its journey to sustainability. In order to claim that the outcome would be successful, we should emphasize the proper implementation plan consisting of specific actions. It is of vital importance that the organisation should deeply understand the necessity of adopting the proposed actions to its needs and strategic directives.
All large organisations, operating in Europe, with over 500 employees will be responsible for disclosing in detail information on social, labour, and environmental issues in their annual reports. We use it to benchmark organisational performance. Reporting guidelines provide a framework for benchmarking among organisations in the same sector. Sustainability reporting can help organizations to measure, understand and communicate their economic, environmental, social and governance performance, and then set goals, and manage change more effectively. The report also presents the organisation’s values and governance model, and demonstrates the link between its strategy and its commitment to a sustainable global economy.
We strongly believe that the organisation should find the appropriate benchmarking and choose a mix of standards to create its own tool specified for the organization’s needs. It goes without saying that reporting and publishing organisation’s rating is much better than being inactive and doing nothing.
Setting goals and specific KPIs linked to each one of your broader goals is really important but the most important thing is to track your performance and evaluate if you have managed to achieve your goals. KPIs are used to measure how effectively you are managing your goals and they can also help you achieve your goals faster.
We propose to the organisation to follow three simple steps in order to have frequent updates on the performance of their goals, which will lead them to desirable results. More specifically:
- Set long and short term goals
- Implement frequent tracking of the performance of the goals following by action next steps if needed
- Have a clear time plan
Having clear long term and short term goals with numerical targets and KPIs but also a clear time plan as a roadmap to success is really crucial to help you achieve each one of your valuable targets.
Nowadays, the adoption of sustainable strategies is considered critical more than ever. The so-called “green” practices driven by long-term strategies are the core elements for achieving a more balanced relationship between communities, environment and organisations. As a result, we presented our proposed methodology and implementation plan of the application of all the ESG pillars which will produce a viable and valuable present and future for any organisation.
To sum up, in order to capitalise on the challenges and opportunities to come, the organisation should have a sound strategy on the main notion of sustainability by being best prepared and placed at a vantage point in the community of higher music education.