Related Information

Planning and Strategy for sustainability has to be based on vision, foresight, and the practical reality that any initiative must be viable in the short term as well as the long term. Systems thinking is the foundation of all good sustainability planning as noted by many sustainability advocates including Donella Meadows in Thinking in Systems.  Insights on how to use an environmental strategy to get ahead of the competition are offered in Green to Gold by Dan Esty and Andrew Winston. Particular industries such as data centers have more specific metrics as noted in this white paper on Data Governance. Buildings are prime targets for energy savings and performance gains as highlighted in this article that touches on seven strategies in GSA buildings.

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Strategy and Planning


Sustainametrics provides expertise, facilitation, tools and resources to efficiently and quickly assess your organization’s sustainability practices, identify and prioritize high ROI projects, and put in place the systems needed to execute successfully.

We provide a variety of planning services including:

  • Social/environmental impact assessments
  • Sustainability benchmarking
  • Sustainability reporting/metrics
  • Business case for sustainability
  • Sustainable business planning

The Opportunity
Our world is in the midst of a growing “Green” evolution that will have a significant impact on every single business on the planet.  It is an inevitable journey for every organization, and from consumers to investors, everyone is now demanding that companies get on the path to sustainability.

True sustainability, however, is far more than recycling programs and generic “green” marketing messages. Rather, it is a systematic, cohesive strategy that creates a clear path to industry leadership, or competitive advantage, and opens the door to a wide range of opportunities.

That’s where Sustainametrics can help.  We have developed a proven methodology to help you quickly build a sustainability strategy that will deliver significant environmental and business value.

Sustainability Strategic Planning
Many entities are embracing sustainability to reduce expenses, to be more energy efficient, to reduce waste, to green their products/services to attract/retain customers, to reduce risk, and to integrate economic, social and environmental performance into their operations.  In the past, you could go green by relatively minor efforts or earn a green certification star in your marketplace.  Not anymore.
Customers, investors, competitors, suppliers, watchdogs are all more sophisticated. The market is skeptical of green washing.  Tougher regulations are upon us or are imminent in the area of green house gas emissions, water, and others. This highlights the importance of paying attention to sustainability plans and program execution. It means setting a strategy and proving the business case. It mean identifying what projects to work on, and executing them with appropriate owners, committed resources, performance metrics and reporting.

The risks of not developing a solid plan are several:

  • How do you know you are working on the most important impacts?
  • Will the programs you work on become dead ends?
  • Are you getting the best overall ROI by taking a holistic, systems approach uncovering the maximum value out of your initiatives?
  • Do you have the right owners, resources, monitoring, and organizational engagement/commitment to ensure success?

Sustainability Reporting

Today, approximately 75% of the largest corporations issue a sustainability or corporate social responsibility report.  This trend is accelerating into the small-medium enterprise sector. Increasingly, investors and other stakeholders want to access and act on this information.  Organizations enhance their image and standing with solid, well formed reporting.  Supply chains (i.e. Walmart’s 100,000 suppliers) are being required to demonstrate sustainable practices.  Many government agencies and departments are being asked to create sustainability and climate plans.

Sustainability Business Case, Plan Development, and Projects Set-Up
Our planning services clarify the business case for pursuing sustainability and defining a vision and strategy to get there.  It means having performance metrics as well as allocating people and resources to reach goals and ensure success.  We help facilitate this process by bringing to bear green principles and best practices, and the right frameworksto drive “integrated bottom line” results.  We help develop a clear pathway to pursue sustainability and the metrics to measure progress (e.g., CO2 reduction by 20% in 5 years, solid waste reduction by 50% in 3 years).


The following process model shows the approach Sustainametrics uses in scoping its assessment and planning engagements.  We typically follow the steps indicated in the orange circle below. We work with each major organizational function or department to identify what practices are used and where they want to go in terms of sustainable best practices.  We then support our clients’ progress through stages of increasing value. The green circle below shows the metrics, owners, action plans and reports that we put in place through web-based tools to track and measure progress as the organization moves from planning to pilots, onto initiatives and eventually, embedded systemic practices as it matures into a sustainable organization.  Our clients can expect to achieve business performance results early (through efficiencies) and in the longer-term, through strategic sustainability.

Our process/deliverables include the following:
1. Establish the business case for sustainability; what will it mean for your organization’s business objectives and what are the benefits?

2. Choose the best framework and principles that help you create a vision of what the path to sustainability looks like for your entity.

3. Assess the impacts on your stakeholders/community/environment and identify high priority areas to work on, melding it with your existing business plan, operating budgets, and management processes.

4. Identify the right metrics to a measure a baseline, target an end point, and intermediate goals.

5. Calculate the ROI of your projects, and allocate budget and people and resources accordingly to set up for success. Create project plans, assign owners and define tracking/monitoring.

6. Set up the systems/structures to track progress and get the shared commitment from the organization’s senior management, mid-level management, and staff levels.

7. Train and coach your employees and other stakeholder groups to understand what sustainability means to your organization, including its benefits and actions needed.

8. Create a mock sustainability report and mechanisms for updates and delivery, including print and Web, and video/audio presentations.