Writing a Sustainable Action Plan for Your Business: 7 Steps
The transformation to a more sustainable business includes changes in the company culture, processes, and values. A notable internal change such as this one demands an action plan to guide you through it. This leads us to the importance of writing a sustainable action plan.
A sustainable action plan is a document that outlines your plan for a sustainable design. Having this plan set in place will provide you with a strategy and methodology to turn theory on sustainability into achievable practices.
Writing a clear, instructive, and informative plan will make the implementation of new practices and policies easier and manageable.
Here are the essential steps you need to take that will lead you to an effective sustainable action plan.
1. Define Areas of Improvement
A sturdy foundation for a realistic, sustainable action plan lies in proper assessment. You need to define where you should direct your sustainability actions.
To decide on areas of improvement, you can:
- Research global sustainability issues
- Go through your current processes and practices
- Check if you can improve compliance with already set sustainability standards.
Also, consider getting your staff involved in the sustainability assessment. They are the ones who take part in daily tasks, and they might have great ideas for small improvements that can make a big impact.
2. Summarize Your Sustainability Mission
Every positive change derives from a strong belief. To welcome sustainability transformation, you need to have a sustainability philosophy.
The sustainability philosophy, mission, and vision are usually addressed in sustainability policy. However, you want to refer back to what motivated you to create a sustainability action plan.
Lead into the plan by reinstating your mission. Your statement on a sustainable future will inspire the motivation to apply the new and improved practice.
The proudly written sustainable mission will strengthen your commitment to this plan and give your plan a positive introduction.
3. Specify Goals and Milestones
Without clear and actionable steps in place, your team will be left in the dark. You need to write down the goals and break them down into milestones.
The goals can specify general improvements you want to make, such as:
- Reducing energy use
- Promoting higher standards of public health
- Reducing waste
However, a general goal won’t inspire action. You need specific milestones and defined steps to get the wheel turning.
For example, TruexCullins Architecture shared their Sustainability Action Plan that included milestones such as:
- Submit the Projected Energy Use Intensity [pEUI] or Lighting Power Density [LPD] for 100% of all active projects by 2025.
- Meet the AIA 2030 targets on 50% of architecture and interior design projects by 2025.
- Measure and evaluate the embodied carbon on all architecture projects by 2025.
Use the plan to spell out your objectives and include a realistic timeframe.
4. Bring Together a Sustainability-Driven Team
The burden of the sustainability change can’t be put on a single person’s back. The transformation can only be achieved if you have a team of people who will work towards the goal.
Maximize your chances for success by assigning each milestone to a person or a group. That individual or individuals will be responsible for implementing the stated practices.
Accountability will reassure the employees that the change is real. The outlined obligations and responsibilities along with the timeframe will leave no room for avoidance.
However, to eliminate reluctance and inspire action, consult your team on the deadline. Get their input on when the change can be made and who is the best person or team for the job.
What’s more, the sustainability team needs to get proper training. Educate people on why sustainability matters and how they will need to contribute.
5. Consider the Financial Aspect
Financing strategy plays a crucial role in executing the plan. Without a clear financial construction, you can come across insurmountable obstacles.
To analyze and develop the program’s cost, you need to revise your financial situation and options.
Clarify the financial aspect of the plan by:
- Mapping out current costs
- Analyzing the costs of implementing sustainable practices
- Determining the funding gaps
- Evaluating your funding options
- Including recommendation for developing a realistic funding strategy
Enforcing a sustainability plan without financial construction is like trying to break a brick wall with a straw. Impossible. Thus, you need to overview your financial situation and prioritize actions accordingly.
6. Determine How You’ll Measure and Report the Results
The measurement and reporting are necessary for reviewing your successes and misses. Therefore, you need to state how you will track, collect, and report data.
How you'll conduct the performance review depends on the actions you'll take and the policies you'll introduce. The evaluation can be done through many simple processes like comparing the energy bill before and after sustainability practices.
Another important step for the review is collecting feedback from the people involved in the sustainability transformation.
For example, you can order multiple-choice test help after a 6-month period to get input from your sustainability team. The test can reveal how much they did or didn’t accomplish.
Continually measure and report results to determine the success of your action plan.
7. Keep the Plan Alive
The sustainability action plan shouldn't be set in stone. It needs to adapt and evolve depending on the results.
There is always room for improvement, and you should identify and fill that room with better changes. If you notice that certain actions don't bring satisfactory results, change them. If other sustainability steps bring incredible results, think about making more adaptations in that direction.
Be open to changing priorities, teams, and ideas.
The purpose of a clear and concise sustainability action plan is to allow you to direct all your efforts towards making progress. Take these steps can wrap your plan in an understandable and simple format that everyone can follow. A big change starts with a small first step. And that first step is writing a great sustainability action plan.