Linking sustainability strategy to business strategy.

December 18, 2018 Jason Grouette

office workers meeting in open concept environment

So often when we think about sustainable business, we think about the many projects and programs our teams are leading. This includes programs like employee awareness campaigns, waste reduction initiatives, and energy reduction programs.

Each of these activities make valuable contributions to our sustainability goals. And like many of our vendors and our customers, we have seen this firsthand. But we still have so much room to expand.

At 3M, we believe sustainability is a business imperative. When we reflect on our successes in this area, some of our greatest wins have been most closely aligned to our business goals.

That’s why we believe that to advance on our sustainability journeys, we need to find a way to embed sustainability strategy within our business strategy.

Watch: Canadian leaders share best practices in making sustainability strategy part of their business strategy.

Sustainability goals must be more than a checklist, experts say.

Like many of our colleagues, we have a list of clearly defined sustainability goals. In our case, we have aligned our priorities to the United Nations’ 2025 Sustainability Goals.

For us, these targets are meaningful indicators of our progress and performance. However, it's how we action our sustainability goals that gives them meaning.

We’ve learned that to best enable our sustainability strategy, we need to look for ways to entrench it into every part of our business. From our corporate values and our strategic plan, to supply chain and operations, to employee engagement, our goal is to make sustainability core to how we make decisions and go to market.

How Canadian leaders make sustainability strategy part of their business strategy.

When it comes to entrenching sustainability strategy within business strategy, there are many Canadian best practices we can learn from.

Sustainability Summit, collaboration

University Health Network, for example, has integrated sustainability within their key values. They use it as a guiding tenet to deliver greater safety and quality to the employees, clients, and communities they serve.

Similarly, BMO operates on four sustainability principles: social change, financial resiliency, community building, and environmental responsibility. They try to position their sustainability strategy to impact every element of how they go to market, from the materials they use to build their bricks-and-mortar locations to their approach to responsible lending.

RESCo Energy Inc. acts as a catalyst for their clients’ sustainability goals. As a service provider, they help their customers overcome barriers to sustainability by helping to refresh aged infrastructure with more energy-conscious platforms, like solar power.

While each approach is different, my colleagues would tell you they all have one thing in common. One of their most critical success factors is tying their sustainability program to their overall business strategy.

Get more insights from Canadian leaders in sustainability.

Our position in the market gives us a unique opportunity to work with so many of these sustainability thought leaders – and learn from one another. Each of us feel passionately about pooling our experience to help advance all of our businesses, together.

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About the Author

Jason Grouette

[enBio=Jason is a veteran change agent. With nearly 20 years of experience at 3M, he has a reputation for embracing shifts in the market, and redefining strategy and operations to help both his people and his business succeed. Prior to leading the Electronics & Energy Business Group, Jason led the Personal Safety Division – 3M Canada’s largest portfolio – and worked as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.],[enJob=Director, Electronics and Energy Business Group, and Executive Sponsor, Sustainability, 3M Canada],[frBio=JJason est un agent du changement chevronné. Avec près de 20 ans d’expérience chez 3M, il a la réputation d’adopter les changements au sein du marché, en plus de redéfinir les stratégies et les opérations pour aider ses employés et ses activités à obtenir du succès. Avant de diriger le Secteur d’activité électronique et énergie, Jason a dirigé la Division des produits de protection individuelle — la plus vaste gamme de produits de 3M — et il a travaillé en tant que ceinture noire Six Sigma.],[frJob=Directeur, Secteur d’activité Électronique et énergie, et cadre responsable, Durabilité, Compagnie 3M Canada]

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