A Simple Framework to Link Profits to Sustainability

By now you know that sustainable manufacturing is the second coming of the industrial revolution in America.  To be part of this sustainability revolution, your company needs to define, track and achieve environmental sustainability and “green goals.” More importantly, you need to link these to profitability.

There are plenty of complex ways to approach sustainability – with no guarantee it will give you the results you need.  So here is a simple framework that will get you started in linking profits to sustainability:

Have an Earth Conversation

Start an earth conversation with your peers, mentors and executive committees. Talk about the sustainability goals of your company in three main areas: goals for your business, goals for your community and goals for your environment.

What you learn from these earth conversations will help you identify gaps. Gaps in your ability to eliminate wastes and risks of all kinds and transform wastes into resources.  This will help you define measurable goals for your environmental sustainability metrics.

Explore innovation and technology

Innovation and technology are paramount to enhancing a sustainability program.  As you understand the gaps that exist in your current operations to achieve the sustainability your clients expect you to have – you need to analyze your resources.

If you are planning to achieve zero landfill – to what extent are you planning to make this powerful statement?

Will the entire lifecycle of your product be zero landfill, including the components you receive from suppliers?

Would exploring technology for your suppliers and helping them achieve their sustainability goals, such as zero landfill, have a greater impact on the sustainability of your business?

When you understand how technology could enhance your operations, take the next step and explore how it could help both your suppliers and your clients.

Commit to your clients

You have evaluated your sustainability goals, they are measurable, the ROI is defined. Now make the commitment to implement the program, launch your goals, define the sustainability impact and how you will measure the success.

Your announcement will hold you to be accountable to these goals.  Your clients will expect to see that you are progressing towards your goals. This will set you apart as taking ownership in helping both your businesses achieve sustainability.

Stay focused on the goals you’ve selected and resist the urge to chance course 6 months later. Sustainability is a long term program – you’ll realize tangible cost savings much sooner than intangibles.

Quick Review

1) What do you learn from an Earth Conversation?

2) How could technology impact your sustainability? Your suppliers? Your clients?

3) What happens to your client relationships when you announce your sustainability goals?


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