creating sustainability

Raven Business Group - Services

creating sustainability
Dwindling natural resource supplies, climate change, regulation, increasing costs, globalization, accelerated technologies, skilled workforce challenges and the power of hyper-communications generate tremendous pressures for organizations.

Raven sustainability services are focused on integrating economic, ecological, and social responsibilities throughout our clients' organizations.

Raven's approach to helping an organization become more sustainable incorporates the following types of efforts.

Sustainability Assessment
Is your organization poised for short- and long-term profitability? If utilities or resources supplies were disrupted or became exorbitantly expensive, what would happen? Is it possible that your organization's policies or operations could come under outside scrutiny and be publicized in an unfavorable light? How sustainable is your organization?

A Sustainability Assessment is created through life cycle analyses that thoroughly examine the organization's operations as they relate to the "triple bottom line" (the internal and external impacts on "People, Planet and Profit"). Analyzed topics cross multiple discipline areas - economics, the natural environment, labor practices, society at large - and extend to outside the organization.

The depth of our analyses is tailored to the needs of the organization.

This baseline information often has immediate value through the identification of 'quick fixes' that can be rapidly deployed. The assessment then can be used to stimulate strategic thinking that addresses opportunities and threats to the organization.

Business Case
Is sustainability a fad that is destined to fade away or is it a timely approach to business that assures its survival?

The core of sustainability is the acceptance that dynamic economic and ecological conditions - resource availability, climate change, global economics, and cyber communications to name a few - are profoundly changing the business environment.

A business case facilitates the organization's consideration of how these conditions could affect the conduct of business. Specifically, it contributes to making a well thought out decision of whether sustainability as an organizing principle makes strategic sense for your organization: not just as a way of avoiding risk but also as a way to create extraordinary value. A thoughtfully prepared business case will identify the benefits, risks and issues associated with integrating sustainability with other organizational strategies.

Planning for Sustainability
While the sustainability assessment and the business case are essential input for evaluating the desirability of sustainability, it is the Business Plan that translates the commitment into reality.

The planning combines baseline data with the assessment of opportunities and risks in order to derive strategic scenarios. Our most successful plans are developed in facilitated planning retreats where attendees are free to focus their attention on understanding the results of the Assessment and creating future scenarios for the organization. The participation builds buy-in. In some cases it is appropriate to create or re-visit the organization's vision, mission and statement of values. These are effective tools for clarifying the organization's value proposition for creating its desired future. They establish expectations and serve as the organization's overarching metrics.

The selection of the desired scenario and the pursuit of its strategies form the basis of an overall Action Plan, whose milestones can be scheduled and responsibility for their achievement, assigned.

Organizational leaders monitor the accomplishment of identified action milestones. They also will track metrics relevant to their goals and to the triple bottom line.

Business Process Improvement
Have steps been taken to eliminate and simplify business processes while maintaining a big picture perspective?

Re-engineering that examines resource inputs, actions and outputs as value-driving opportunities is the cornerstone of process improvement.

The most profound gains accrue when approaching the individual processes from a holistic view. Accurately mapping individual processes illustrates the complex networks of systems. Applying a systems analysis reveals how improvements can be made that affect purchasing, customer contacts and relations, quality, staffing, productivity and other operations that generate added value.

What competencies enable a sustainable organization to excel in the new economy?

The leadership skills revolve around understanding the business environment, thinking strategically to identify opportunities and manage risks, and creating a work environment that embraces exploration, distributed problem solving and transformative action.

Managing sustainability initiatives requires an understanding of project management.

Effective training programs promote desired performance because they close the gap between identifying the competencies needed to enhance the organization and the abilities of the individuals tasked with the work.

Sustainable organizations empower their workers (and members of their value chain) to become ambassadors for sustainability in their homes, places of worship, schools, neighborhoods and communities. Our training extends to helping individuals apply sustainability behaviors outside the workplace in order to strengthen community.

Stakeholder Engagement
Who makes up my community and what do they think of the organization?

Customers, the marketplace, supply chain, competitors, partners and alliances, the local government, environmental organizations, unions and trades. These are just some of the stakeholders who may have formed opinions about the organization and how it conducts business. Giving voice to those opinions can tarnish the organization's image or make it glow.

Enhancing your organization's relationships is an effective strategy for protecting your reputation and managing one set of risks.

The first step in assessing the public's perception is identifying key stakeholders and determining their potential to impact the organization. Communications with the key stakeholders to gauge their perceptions demonstrates a willingness to engage in dialogue and may provide an early warning of unpublicized concerns. This information can then be used to develop projects of mutual benefit and to manage communications proactively.

Communications and Reporting
The majority of Fortune 500 companies already issues Sustainability Reports or otherwise publicizes their accomplishments. The financial community demands the disclosure of risks and the sustainability assessment and reporting models effectively reveal vulnerabilities with respect to various stakeholders.

An organization's communication of its progress in implementing sustainable principles, programs and projects is crucial to managing its reputation as a responsible corporate citizen. Proactive communication is a strategy that can predispose stakeholders to favorably viewing an organization is taking authentic steps to become sustainable.

Different stakeholders - whether the Board of Directors, C-level managers, program and project managers, staff, shareholders, regulators or other individuals or entities - have varying interests and needs for information. Establishing a suitable reporting framework helps to ensure that the right information is conveyed to the right audience -with a stake in the operations. Balancing considerations of transparency and accountability with reporting costs and extent and depth of information is crucial to establishing an appropriate reporting framework.







  © 2012, Raven Business Group, LLC.