Building a ‘Yes-and’ Corporate Sustainability Strategy

A ticking clock on climate change requires us to work together.

The upcoming Climate Week will be a reminder that the challenges presented by climate change are extensive. And certainly it’ll also be a major opportunity for businesses to publicize their commitments to social and environmental sustainability. Like many, we hope the momentum sustains long after the event.

However, the big question isn’t who’s doing what – but if we’re doing enough together.

As you build your sustainability strategy for your consumer goods business, we encourage you to listen for solutions that paint the full picture. While it can be tempting to go all-in on a specific issue – single-use plastic, recycled materials, or carbon neutral – we believe it’s essential to take action in all parts of your business. No single investment or improvement is enough to deliver the change our planet demands.

Next, keep an ear out for solutions that integrate with others you may be already using. Explore if a technology leverages open source data or is built from a common framework. These features will inherently intermix with existing solutions, and keep you from designing a siloed sustainability program. It’s imperative that we start designing unified climate change solutions.

For example, we only have until 2030 to halve carbon emissions. Yet, less than 10 years away, no universal strategy exists for measuring or reporting carbon emissions, nevertheless reducing them.

Once you’ve determined your sustainability solutions, you need to be able to tell the complete story to stakeholders. Whether reporting on annual goals or project ROI, synthesizing your results can be arduous. Look for partners who can bring together your solutions and offer insights that help you connect the dots and drive improvements.

Whether the goal is to bring down emissions across factories, within a transportation fleet, or at corporate offices, businesses should be able to compile their data and confidently pull the right levers. This is where the scalable change starts to occur.

We have to learn to speak a common language of sustainability to achieve the common goal of stopping climate change. Businesses and whole industries need to work together and make progress faster. We believe that rather than competing against one another on impact, it’s time to come together and compete against only the ticking clock. During Climate Week, we’ll be paying close attention to solutions that are complementary, and help businesses connect with other data sources. To meet this moment, each and every one of us needs to succeed, with speed.

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