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How are your green levels?

For manufacturers at the beginning of the sustainability journey, deciding where to start and developing a program may seem to be a daunting task. It’s not.


May 13, 2011
by Brett Wills

For manufacturers at the beginning of the sustainability journey, deciding where to start and developing a program may seem to be a daunting task. It’s not. Answer these questions to gauge your green levels.

1. Is senior management engaged? Sustainability starts with a commitment from the senior management team. They must understand the concepts and be aware of the benefits and implications to the organization.

2. Is sustainability part of the long-term vision and short-term business goals? A vision provides a future desired state that will guide your company’s day-to day activities and long term strategies. What initiatives are under way? Reaching milestones shows progress to desired future state.

3. Does your company have a transformation plan? No plan, no progress. You need a road map to reach the desired destination.

4. Are employees engaged? Ensure they are aware of how sustainability initiatives impact business goals and their own lives.

5. Do employees understand the role they play? Everyone has a part to play and once they understand that, it’s up to management to ensure they have the tools and resources needed to make it happen.

6. Have green/sustainability leaders been appointed? Every journey requires passionate change agents who will build and maintain momentum towards a more sustainable organization.

7. Are there metrics? They may include measures such as kWh per unit of output, CO2 per dollar of revenue or litres of water per square-foot of building space. If it doesn’t get measured it doesn’t get managed.

8. Is your company using a sustainability toolbox? Contents could include lean and green manufacturing, carbon foot printing and CSR reporting.

9. Are you communicating sustainable progress internally and externally? Sustainability initiatives lower internal costs, and they help grow market share. Communicate accomplishments to avoid accusations of green washing.

Brett Wills is the director of the Green Enterprise Movement and a senior consultant with High Performance Solutions in Cambridge, Ont. E-mail bwills@hpsinc.ca.