An increasing number of requests for proposals are requiring (or giving extra points to) bidders who have a sustainability plan in place.
Wal-Mart is a leader in this area. Tired of being burned with bad publicity associated with toys that were tainted with lead and apparel that came from sweatshops, Wal-Mart began requiring its 20,000 vendors fill out a form describing their sustainability practices. They wanted to ensure that what they sold was not harmful to the environment or people. They have learned the importance of all three legs of sustainable business. It is not just about the short-term financial bottom line any more. Wal-Mart believes that to be successful, it has to look at the environmental and social aspects of everything it does.
So how do we protect ourselves from supply chain problems? How do we create a sustainability plan that will make our company better and help us win the next contract? It starts with a corporate policy. Let’s discuss a hypothetical firm “Newco”.
“Newco” can demonstrate its full commitment to good sustainability management by adopting corporate-wide procedures that flow down to its offices, employees, vendors, and communities as well as its project management teams. These procedures are based on a thorough assessment of operations and are embedded into everything it does.
Newco’s efforts can include, but are not limited to, the following environmental sustainability best practices:
• Creation of corporate vision and mission statements
• Establishing an environmental sustainability manager position
• Organizing green teams and processes for vetting and funding good ideas.
• Establishing green purchasing policies
• Adhering to green hiring and review policies
• Developing office management policies on paper, food, printing, lighting, reuse, recycling
• Modifying travel policies
• Establishing better communication policies
• Improving project management policies
• Publishing annual sustainability reports
At the start of every major project, Newco’s project team and sustainability manager meet with each client and create an environmental sustainability plan specific to the scope of the project to insure that products purchased and wastes generated are compliant with the goals of all parties. This plan will be reviewed at the completion of the project to determine the success of the plan.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. I would love to hear what has worked for you, especially if you have sustainability policies in place. There is no reason to wait, consider getting started on your own policy today! I will publish the best ones.