Sustainability Consulting

What is Sustainability Consulting? What do Sustainability Consultants do?

Concepts like climate change, global warming, and net zero have assumed serious significance in the last couple of decades. The reason is very simple – it is to slow down the impacts of climate change and global warming. The objective is to reduce global warming levels up to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of 2050. According to a report in The Guardian, the sustainability industry is projected to reach an evaluation of approximately 16 billion US dollars by the end of the year 2027.

Now how do all these impact business organisations and companies? According to another report in The Guardian, just one hundred companies contribute to 71% of global emissions. But that does not take away the need for thousands of other small, medium, and big businesses to shy away from their responsibilities in building a safe environment for now as well as for the future. Businesses and companies have a big role to play in achieving the global sustainability goals.

 Running a business means that there are offices, factories, warehouses, vehicles and a wide range of other assets in use. Using these assets leaves a carbon footprint on the environment.

To reduce the environmental impact of their business activities, apart from ordinary prudence, businesses must apply certain principles, practices, and standards that align with global environmental sustainability goals. There are professionals who help businesses achieve this and they are known as sustainability consultants or sustainability consulting firms and what they do comes under the purview of sustainability consulting.

Here are 10 sustainable strategies which businesses can adopt to play their part in building a net zero environment:

  • Increasing Remote/Hybrid Working
  • Buy eco-friendly goods for office/administrative requirements
  • Reduce food waste at workplace canteens and cafeterias
  • Build strong QC and QA
  • Use of solar energy systems
  • Water conservation
  • Waste management
  • Build systems for recycling and reuse of assets and inventory
  • Engage in Corporate Social Responsibility
Despite understanding the relevance of having and implementing sustainable business policies, practices, and processes, the charge against them is that they fail to honour their commitments or live up to expectations. Of course, there are challenges and problems but sustainability is not impossible.

Why your Business needs to be Sustainability-compliant

Businesses can no longer function in the same way they did 20 or even 10 years back. This is the same philosophy under which a business will not operate in the same way when the market conditions change. Today, the impact of climate change has become more evident than ever before and with every passing day the situation is only getting more and more out of our hands. Being an environmentally sustainable brand or business has many positive outcomes.

Be Future-ready

If there is no environment, then where is the future for business? We understand this fact as individuals but we also have to take this idea more seriously as collective entities and organisations. This is because as both individuals and business or non-business entities, we contribute to carbon emissions and it is our responsibility to make sure that we pave the way for a safe environment and a safe planet for future generations.

Recognition as a Responsible Organisation

When a business enterprise or a company implements the standards and practices of sustainability and they become good at it, eventually it begins to get recognised as a responsible organisation. This has a very positive impression on both internal and external stakeholders like employees, customers, shareholders, NGOs and regulatory bodies.

Achieve Internal Efficiency

When businesses apply environmentally sustainable policies and practices, they can prevent the wastage of raw materials, procure better-quality products, and build processes that are more robust and more efficient with minimum waste and maximum output. This undoubtedly brings down their operational costs which in turn show up in terms of higher profitability.

Meet Regulatory Conditions

In many countries, there are very stringent laws pertaining to the environmental impact of business activities. This makes an unavoidable case for businesses to follow the principles and practices of sustainability. Businesses having operations extending to foreign countries must exercise extra caution and bear in mind that the regulatory conditions governing the environmental impact may be different in those countries.

Not being Sustainable could be Risky

Not being an environmentally sustainable brand or not following the standards or practices to secure environmental sustainability can prove to be costly for businesses. A simple example of this is the backlash on social media platforms. Any kind of negative news on social media platforms does not take much time to reflect on the stock prices. Also, such news draws the attention of concerned regulatory bodies to take appropriate action.

Challenges in Developing and Implementing Sustainability Measures

AWA – Awareness, Willingness, Action

The first requirement in the journey of building a sustainable organisation is awareness on the part of business owners. They need to take into account the changing realities of the planet’s environment, how their organisations make a difference, and what they should be doing. If they do not do so, the price may come in the form of declining customer loyalty and failure to attract customers who today are more aware and conscious of their environmental priorities. Awareness alone is not sufficient; willingness to change is also required. Without willingness, the probability of action stands diminished.

 Resource Constraints

A genuine challenge for organisations is the lack of resources to pull off sustainability measures. It is difficult for small businesses to allocate resources and invest them into sustainability. They work with relatively limited resources leaving little or no scope to think beyond their routine operations. Even the best of intentions get postponed to the future. And when thousands of organisations do that across the world, then the lack of action becomes a problem. We cannot ask the environment to wait while we use its endowments. That has been going on at hyper speeds for the last 100 years.

Operational Challenges

Incorporating sustainability measures is a difficult road even for big companies and organisations. Without meticulous planning, it could jeopardise their routine operations. Sustainability measures need not stand out as a distinct business process or function. The scope of sustainability is everywhere. Sustainability is removing unnecessary lights. Sustainability is putting the computers to go to sleep when not in use after a reasonable time. Sustainability is the rehabilitation and relocation of indigenous people displaced by business and government projects. A proper drainage system is sustainability. Sustainability could take the shape of everyday small steps or any large-scale accommodation. But both need operational planning.

Resistance to Change: Internal and External

Denial is the most obvious of human responses. This is from the movie Matrix. When people see something that would disturb their status quo without any direct benefit to them, their natural response is to avoid such changes. This resistance comes from entities both internal and external to an organisation. Implementing sustainability measures may also require changes in routine behaviour (execution of duties and responsibilities). Sometimes external entities like suppliers and service providers might also have to make enterprise-wide changes in their business practices and processes. Even a small change to incorporate sustainability by one business entity may necessitate others in the value chain to make adjustments. This may have business ramifications for them and sudden change may not be possible.

Lack of Executive Sponsorship in Implementation

Executive sponsorship is a major requirement for implementing sustainability measures in organisations. Without the involvement and direction of senior leaders in special efforts like sustainability, it is challenging for the rest of an organisation to make things roll. Executive sponsorship is critical to driving organisational change. Securing the necessary resources and support from all corners is difficult when top executives are not resoundingly involved. Employees can easily run out of motivation and morale if they notice any lacklustre behaviour on the part of top management. Thus, organisations must prioritise securing executive sponsorship in critical initiatives like that of sustainability.

How BPX can help

We are BPX. We craft process solutions. We help our clients build the operations framework of their organisations. In sustainability consulting, we provide planning and implementation assistance in developing and customising business processes to incorporate the chosen sustainability goals, strategies, measures and business practices. Here is how we do it.

We identify and map the capabilities of the current processes. We do this with two goals in consideration – optimising the need for change and making it easier to detect deviations and identify areas for improvisations. Workflows are mapped and detailed. The process resource requirements are identified and defined. It is crucial to assess and define the current procedures before aiming for process adjustments. This assessment also serves as input for later stages in process definition and finalisation. Therefore, the output must also be in a comprehensible and actionable format.

Logistics Execution (LE) - How will BPX help Implement

Sustainability cannot work without specific goals and objectives defined in unambiguous terms. These goals and objectives turn into the new operational specifications. At this stage, we identify and define the new process and operational requirements and standards in light of the intended sustainability outcomes.

After conducting process gap analysis, we design the new processes using Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The development and implementation of SOPs is one of our flagship competencies. These new SOP-based process definitions are the to-be processes.

We also evaluate the new operations in terms of bringing them under the ambit of business process automation and digitization solutions.

In line with the new process and operational requirements, we also identify the skill and competency requirements for employees.

To know more about how we can help your business plan and implement sustainability strategies and measures, please visit our website and drop us a message. One of our business process consultants shall revert.

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To reduce the environmental impact of their business activities, apart from ordinary prudence, businesses must apply certain principles, practices, and standards that align with global environmental sustainability goals. There are professionals who help businesses achieve this and they are known as sustainability consultants or sustainability consulting firms and what they do comes under the purview of sustainability consulting.
  • Be future-ready (contributing to building a safe environment for the present and future)
  • Recognition as a responsible organisation
  • Achieve internal efficiency
  • Meet regulatory conditions
  • Not being sustainable could be risky
  • AWA – Awareness, Willingness, Action
  • Resource constraints
  • Operational challenges
  • Resistance to change: Internal and External
  • Lack of executive sponsorship in implementation

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