The sus­tain­abil­ity op­por­tu­nity

Element - - The Blue Economy - By Dr. Lo­gan Wait and Dr. Manuel Seidel, di­rec­tors, ecoPor­tal and Caleb Clarke, direc­tor, Mor­phum En­vi­ron­men­tal

With the over­all ben­e­fits of sus­tain­able busi­ness prac­tices grow­ing more and more ob­vi­ous, lead­ing com­pa­nies are un­der­stand­ably en­thu­si­as­tic about the value sus­tain­abil­ity can add to their or­gan­i­sa­tions. But while the long-term fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits are at­trac­tive, in the short-term we all have to deal with lim­ited bud­gets. Get­ting started is of­ten ex­tremely chal­leng­ing. Based on our ex­pe­ri­ence with a wide range of lead­ing New Zealand com­pa­nies, we’ve found sev­eral low or no-cost ways to help turn your sus­tain­abil­ity vi­sions into ac­tion:

Fo­cus on ma­te­rial is­sues

Ma­te­rial is­sues are the ones that mat­ter the most. Make sure you iden­tify what these are by proac­tively en­gag­ing with your stake­hold­ers. This isn’t just your man­age­ment team and staff, but in­cludes your cus­tomers, sup­pli­ers, and reg­u­la­tors. While it may seem ob­vi­ous that fo­cus­ing your time and bud­get on ma­te­rial is­sues is the most ef­fec­tive ap­proach, some busi­nesses try to mea­sure and man­age too many is­sues and ul­ti­mately di­lute the ef­fec­tive­ness of their sus­tain­abil­ity ef­forts. There are a num­ber of dif­fer­ent ap­proaches to help iden­tify ma­te­rial is­sues such as The Nat­u­ral Step Frame­work, the Mauri model and risk as­sess­ment tools.

Vi­su­alise your strat­egy

A pic­ture is worth a 1000 words, and as peo­ple are be­com­ing less in­clined to read 1000 words, imagery is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly im­por­tant. We’ve found cre­at­ing a vis­ual map of a strat­egy, rather than keep­ing it locked in a doc­u­ment or spread­sheet is the best way to com­mu­ni­cate a shared sus­tain­abil­ity vi­sion. You can take a ‘Post-It note’ ap­proach or use the ‘ecoWheel’ (pic­tured right) which we have de­vel­oped specif­i­cally for this pur­pose.

Pick the low-hang­ing fruit

Low-hang­ing fruit are eas­i­est to ac­cess and de­liver the fastest re­wards. Pick­ing these quick-win projects helps raise the aware­ness of the value of sus­tain­abil­ity and goes a long way to se­cur­ing the bud­get for big­ger, longer-term projects. A great place to start is to cel­e­brate the good things that are al­ready be­ing achieved in the or­gan­i­sa­tion as this cre­ates mo­men­tum and in­spi­ra­tion to mo­ti­vate other sus­tain­abil­ity ini­tia­tives.

Cre­ate a team of cham­pi­ons

Sus­tain­abil­ity shouldn’t be the sole re­spon­si­bil­ity of any one person in an or­gan­i­sa­tion. How­ever in many cases we have seen very ‘lonely’ sus­tain­abil­ity man­agers. Cre­at­ing a team of sus­tain­abil­ity cham­pi­ons is key – all you need to do is pro­vide the staff that are en­gaged in sus­tain­abil­ity is­sues with op­por­tu­ni­ties to cre­ate im­prove­ments. Your team will help achieve tar­gets and nat­u­rally em­bed sus­tain­able busi­ness prac­tices into the cul­ture of your or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Stream­line your pro­cesses

At the coal face, sus­tain­abil­ity of­ten means ef­fec­tively man­ag­ing health and safety, en­vi­ron­men­tal and qual­ity is­sues. Sys­tems to man­age these is­sues are all based on the ‘plan’, ‘do’, ‘check’ and ‘act’ prin­ci­ples and they can of­ten be com­bined into one in­te­grated sys­tem. This will stream­line the pro­cesses peo­ple use on a daily ba­sis, re­duce frus­tra­tion, save time and lead to a hap­pier au­di­tor.

ecoPor­tal has de­vel­oped a suite of so­lu­tions to help com­pa­nies achieve their short - and long-term sus­tain­abil­ity goals. These so­lu­tions are de­liv­ered to or­gan­i­sa­tions through sus­tain­abil­ity, Health & Safety, En­vi­ron­men­tal and Qual­ity (HSEQ) ex­perts such as Mor­phum in New Zealand. To­gether, Mor­phum and ecoPor­tal have helped Unitec raise the aware­ness of en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity amongst staff and stu­dents to 67% with a col­lab­o­ra­tively tai­lored sus­tain­abil­ity strat­egy. The so­lu­tions have also helped Au­tex re­duce en­ergy costs by 50%, achieve zero waste to land­fill and helped halve the time Fon­terra Brands spends pre­par­ing for en­vi­ron­men­tal au­dits. • ecoWheel is a sus­tain­abil­ity strat­egy visu­al­i­sa­tion tool. It il­lus­trates the cur­rent po­si­tion of a com­pany’s busi­ness prac­tices, shows where they should be in the fu­ture, and presents a road map high­light­ing the way to get there. • ecoPor­tal turns sus­tain­abil­ity strat­egy into ac­tion. It is an easy-to-use on­line man­age­ment sys­tem which in­cludes all the tools to mea­sure, man­age, and re­port on com­plex sus­tain­abil­ity and health & safety, en­vi­ron­men­tal and qual­ity is­sues.

The team at Mor­phum en­sure that or­gan­i­sa­tions max­imise the ben­e­fits of ecoPor­tal by em­bed­ding sus­tain­abil­ity into all op­er­a­tional sys­tems and pro­cesses. They achieve this by cus­tomis­ing each im­ple­men­ta­tion, recog­nis­ing the ex­ist­ing at­tributes, cul­ture and sys­tems of the or­gan­i­sa­tion. They bring a col­lab­o­ra­tive stake­hold­er­fo­cused ap­proach to de­vel­op­ing strat­egy, and have a deep tech­ni­cal ca­pa­bil­ity to cre­ate ideas and re­solve any en­vi­ron­men­tal cer­ti­fi­ca­tion or com­pli­ance is­sue quickly and ef­fi­ciently.

For more in­for­ma­tion see ecopor­tal.com and mor­phum.com

Image: Joseph Kelly

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