Sustainability Planning Resources: Business

Below are some good resources for businesses on sustainability planning.

The Step by Step Guide to Sustainability Planning

This book authored by Marsha Willard and Darcy Hitchcock discusses how to do sustainability planning in a simple and straightforward manner. It offers some great tools for assessments, reporting and developing metrics.

Five Winds: Steps to Improving Your Business Handbook

This is a free download by Five Winds International specifically developed for small to medium sized businesses. It has an assessment tool integrated with possible action steps.

Global Environment Management Initiative (GEMI)

Offers free online based web tools to help businesses with sustainability planning.

Unilever Sustainable Living Plan

Launched in 2011, Unilever has targeted some of the most aggressive targets in multiple areas for sustainability. Their plan is organized into three categories of Improving Health, Environmental Impact and Enhancing Livelihoods.

Environment Canada

The Canadian government has provided a host of online tools, research and white papers to encourage businesses to be more sustainable. These are free downloads.

Sustainability Assessment Recommended Books

There are a few books that can also help organizations conduct their own self sustainability assessments. Here are the top recommended sustainability assessment books;

Flawless Consulting, Peter Block: This is a classic book on conducting assessments for any topic. It was published more than a decade ago and still highly relevant.

Sustainability Assessment: Criteria and Processes, Robert Gibson: A book specifically on conducting sustainability assessments.

Corporate Sustainability Planning Assessment Guide: A Comprehensive Organizational Assessment, Donald Fisher: This manual is designed to serve as a guide for an organization s self-assessment on its corporate sustainability efforts.

Business Guide to Sustainability, Darcy Hitchcock and Marsh Willard: Winner of Choice Magazine – Outstanding Academic Titles for 2007 in Sustainability category. Both Marsha and Darcy are sustainability consultants and the book discusses each primary of an organization and provides their SCORE assessment tool for each primary department and division.

Key Elements to Prepare for a Sustainability Plan: Conduct an Assessment

Step 2: Conduct an Assessment

It is important to get an overview of what green initiatives a company has already started along with the areas that have the potential for improvement with regards to environmental and social responsibility. Reach out to each department or division of a company and hold information interviews. Although more information can be gathered through in-person meetings, an organization can also conduct an assessment via an online survey. Develop a series of questions that ask specifically what each area is doing to reduce resource use and minimize environmental impact.  Some organizations also like to assess the social side of business and how engaged they are in the community and supporting non-profit organizations. Eco-officiency has developed an assessment tool with a series of questions for each major department of an organization that can be downloaded at under the Resources tab.

There are a number of assessment tools on the market here are a few other recommendations; SCORE; PROBE; WBSCD Measuring Impact Framework

SCORE Assessment

green light bulbA great new easy assessment tool, SCORE is a sustainability self-assessment that identifies opportunities to improve sustainability performance within small and medium sized companies. It also provides a baseline measure against other companies who have taken SCORE to determine where a company lies with sustainability measures within different departmental areas. It was developed by AXIS Performance Advisors in conjunction with the International Sustainable Development Foundation and the Zero Waste Alliance. On their website, they have licensed facilitators to administer SCORE, including eco-officiency who services the Denver/ Boulder metro area.