As I reach out to my partners in the world of corporate sustainability directors, we are all asking how we can provide our corporations with truly ROI-driven sustainable programs. And, how can we bring these projects to our companies in a timely manner to yield immediate returns in the form of corporate profits.
Traditionally, the role of the sustainability director has been to help create efficiencies within the business model. Especially with today’s economy as it is, now we are being asked along with everyone in the organization to more directly align ourselves with income-producing activity.
So, when sustainability is aligned to marketing and sales it can help a company better position themselves in a down market. Heck, in any market. In today’s business world, a company who is not actively embracing new ways to save money through sustainable initiatives is quickly being left in the competitive dust. AND a company who is not actively embracing this not-so-subtle change toward a realigned and sustainable world is most certainly going to be disengaged from its desired audience.
Green efforts and programs have not gone away because budgets for marketing have been cut. So what do we do as business innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders? We look for direct ways to engage these partners in change. We ask our customers and other partners about their needs, immediate and long-term. Where are they living, working, developing and building? We ask them HOW we can better align with those needs. And then we adapt to those needs. It is truly that easy. We ask, we review, we adapt, we develop and then we spend wisely to create partnerships that realign our businesses to more sustainable programs for future security and growth.
In a previous blog posting I discussed EcoScorecard. This technology has been embraced by the building/ interiors finishes community as a great way to tailor LEED and other environmental rating system searches to a company’s product offerings. It is a tool which directly impacts the customers’ needs, on a project-by-project basis.
The Beverage Industry has always been a leader in responding to product needs with both product development and packaging. So have big-box retailers. Wal-Mart, for example, worked with Radio Flyer to change the design of their tricycle to eliminate parts, time to construct and overall package waste. This partnership was developed because a Wal-Mart executive was aware of the amount of waste and shelf space produced by the old design. Another win-win for sustainability.
So change is upon us as we get into the minds of our partners. Get ready folks, for it is sure to be a bumpy and interesting ride. And if you choose to approach you this innovation from a place of joy, you’ll have a lot of fun in the process.