In order for a company to have a sustainable business each senior manager should have assigned responsibility for sustainability within each business unit. Innovation strategy and sustainability management go hand in hand for future growth, and excellence in execution of ‘brilliant’ innovative ideas. The senior managers should oversee the following:
Implementation of local sustainability policies and initiatives.
Development of local sustainability policies and processes.
Collation of all relevant data on sustainability issues.
Reporting of all progress to company’s sustainability team.
In many companies and business units, individual managers might oversee sustainability activities alongside other professional responsibilities. These activities are therefore reflected in the overall assessment of the sustainability manager’s job performance.
The need for sustainability team is vital for business success, thus the company has to appoint a Head of Sustainability to execute their enterprise wide sustainability goals.
The Head of Sustainability should report to the CEO, and the organization should have a member of company’s Management Board be responsible for sustainability issues. Questions of strategy and policy are subject to approval by company’s Executive and Management Boards.
For example the Aegon company uses this innovation model and embracing sustainability management successfully with excellent results as reported in their 2012 Annual Report (what sustainability means to us).
In this business model. the responsibilities of local sustainability management include:
Managing the strategic framework for business unit sustainability activities; developing and introducing relevant policies; and
Supporting operating entities in integrating and implementing the department’s strategic approach and policies
Coordinating the main sustainability activities between subsidiaries, strategic functions and Executive Board of Management
Further integrating sustainability aspects into existing business processes and operations
Acting as a knowledge hub and facilitating best practice exchange across the business units
Additionally, the company might utilize existing business processes, such as Risk Management Framework, Project Management Framework and Compliance System, to establish minimum sustainability standards and monitor compliance with them.
By Tanya Petrova, MSMIS, PMP at Green PM Consulting