Building Success Into the Firm’s Sustainability Efforts – By Making Sustainability Everyone’s Responsibility

G&A's Sustainability Highlights (03.07.2018)
Mar 12, 2018 11:30 AM ET
Newsletter

Lately, we’ve been participating in conferences where CEOs and other senior managers have been on the lectern describing their companies’ sustainability journeys – the why, how, challenges and positive outcomes.

Most presenters are the leaders in brand marketing who know that the stakes are higher now, in terms of both investor and customer expectations.  They know that the customer-facing company that wants competitive market positioning will demonstrate greater corporate responsibility and strive to be more sustainable.

One of the common threads that we hear in these presentations is the key role that employees play in making corporate “sustainability” or “responsibility” or “citizenship” programs more successful.  There are typically key management metrics applied, ranging from the simple-to-the-sophisticated.  Employee volunteer hours.  Return on these efforts (equivalent to dollar amounts donated in some cases).  Employee retention and customer loyalty rates. Investor response.

And for a few enterprises, the strategic approach of alignment of effort and incentive – building recognition and rewarding of the employee contributions to the positive outcomes (small today but appears to be a growing practice for savvy leaders). 

Encouraging and organizing employee volunteering is often among the core activities when a company sets out on the sustainability journey – it’s a great internal morale builder and positive way to put the brand forward doing something that benefits society.

CB Bhattacharya writing in the Harvard Business Review shares his experiences gained in interviews with CEOs and C-suite execs, middle managers and “shop floor” workers in 25-plus companies to understand “why most companies fail to embed sustainability in their business models and what drives success among the handful that do.”  

This is just the introduction of G&A's Sustainability Highlights newsletter this week. Click here to view the full issue.