How to Choose Your Sustainability Initiatives – (Private sector)

How to Choose Your Sustainability Initiatives in the Private Sector

Sustainability initiatives are both critical and fragile to a business.

Whether you have embarked into sustainability before or thinking of incorporating it today, knowledge, strategy, and economic returns all play a role in the success of your sustainability initiative.

To reap the benefits of sustainability within your industry, understand who this initiative will affect.

For example, suppose your goal is to market and publish yourselves as a sustainable company (brand impact). In this case, the people that need to hear about the initiative the most are your customers.

In another example where the goal is to save costs or gain revenue (monetary impact), your initiative needs to resonate with your 1st-degree connections such as clients/partners/shareholders.

Your goal describes the reach.

By understanding who you want to reach with your sustainability initiative, you can start to know the different routes accessible within your company.

Note: Identifying whom to reach can be determined by short and long term company objectives.

Now that you have an idea of who you’re trying to address, let’s make sense of the roadmap below.

If you’re thinking about what kind of different initiatives you can consider, there isn’t just one perfect initiative. Instead, understanding the dynamics of your company’s ethos and operations will get you closer to creating your own initiative. Initiatives that will stick and become perpetual as you focus on creating value and impact in your business.

Your sustainability matters.


Choosing the correct initiative:

Once you have an idea of who you want to reach, you can then go about and plan different initiatives around said demographic. But, again, let it be simple and non-invasive.

The whole point of adopting sustainability is to integrate it into your model. You don’t want to overcomplicate anything. On the other hand you don’t want to hand the keys and let someone else dictate your sustainability either.

For example, suppose you’re doing outdoor activities as an organization such as organizing a trash pick up day or a tree planting day. In this case, the only people who benefit from this is the organization that arranges it in the first place. You might get a few pictures for content and “green-wash” data, such as daily picking 50 kgs of trash. But, again, the only people who benefit are the organizers. Your customers are educated enough to know this isn’t helping the root cause.

Though I do understand that the only options you are provided are limited, that’s where developing your own initiative comes into play.

Identify a simple initiative that your company can scale. To understand how to scale, you can use the TAM SAM SOM method and dot down how the roadmap would look. Again, this would be a straightforward step to identify how your initiative can take shape.

Other methods provide more accurate results, but those require resources and time to perform. For example, we map out initiatives every other day at Anima using various methods such as MOST analysis, GHG mapping and our own processes depending on the industry.

Sustainability doesn’t require additional resources but instead streamlines your resources into your company’s vision. 

Since your vision is targeted towards a sustainability impact. Henceforth, the initiative and commitments should align with whom you are addressing and milestones you need to achieve as your company progresses.

Setting milestones:

Milestones that you set for your initiative show the progress as a company. It showcases proof that what you have committed to has movement. If you fail to meet your targets, you can interact with the audience you cater to with your initiative should the need arrive (and it will). This in turn brings your 1st degree network closer.

The idea of transparency is a fragile outlook for a company but executed right; this fragile view resonates with the audience you cater to.

The reason why audiences resonate with this fragile outlook is because of a term called business consciousness. It is to remind them that the brand you are creating does not only care about the growth but also about the environment and socio-economic concerns.

Conclusion: Choose the correct initiative

Suppose you favor the initiative that doesn’t provide value or benefit to any enviro-socio-economic areas. In that case, the company is held accountable at the end.

Sustainability does not require additional resources; instead, it puts your existing resources towards the company’s vision.

There are a lot of easy way outs when it comes to sustainability, such as paying an organizer, acquiring various reports, even an expensive marketing campaign to show you are genuinely sustainable. But to reap the benefits and gain the expected ROI. Transparency is key.

Where have you reached in your sustainable journey?