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.

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.

Can Cloud Computing Help Global Warming?

That is what Rob Bernard, the chief environmental strategist for Microsoft, is projecting in his latest article in Sustainable Industries. Microsoft recently commissioned a study with Accenture to analyze the energy and greenhouse gas use for cloud-hosted systems such as Microsoft versus on their own hosted systems.

The study found that organizations could save energy and carbon by switching to the cloud. It found the smaller the organization, the larger the benefit.  The study predicted an effective carbon footprint reduction of up to 90 percent over using local servers for smaller organizations (less than 100 people). For large corporations, the predicted savings were typically 30 percent or more. This is a pretty remarkable carbon and energy savings for smaller businesses.

In addition, cloud computing services can generally save companies money. It ranges from 25-50% savings in your IT costs. PC Computing has a nice article, 13 Terrific Cloud Services for Small Businesses, which provides an overview of companies that offer cloud based computing for small companies.

Key Elements to Prepare for a Sustainability Plan: Obtain the Current Strategy Plan

Step 4: Obtain the Current Strategy Plan

It is important that sustainability plans are incorporated and aligned with the organizations current strategic or business plan. Procure a current copy of the organizations strategy or business plan and make sure the objectives and goals are understood. Ideally, the sustainability goals should be in alignment with the strategy plan of the organization. For example, if an organization wants to reduce operational costs by 5 percent than this is a perfect tie-in with reducing energy use. If a company wants to improve their employee retention, then consider implementing telework or work-at-home programs as a sustainability initiative.

To learn more about sustainability planning go to the guide produced by the International Institute of Sustainable Development  Corporate Social Responsibility: An Implementation Guide for Business

Key Elements to Prepare for a Sustainability Plan: Procure Management Support

Step 1: Procure Management Support

Before getting started on developing a sustainability plan, an organization must first prepare. Making sure you have the necessary data and support is essential before developing a sustainability plan. One of the very first steps is to procure management support.

It can’t be stressed enough, sustainability initiatives won’t happen unless you have top management support within an organization . It is important to not only educate management but also increase their involvement in the sustainability program. Make sure that the CEO and all top executives are on board to support a sustainability plan. This will require time from their staff along with consistent follow-through on sustainability initiatives. Ideally, management should be involved in the entire planning process, but at the very least should provide suggestions and input into the sustainability vision and objectives.

A good book for managers is Leading Change Toward Sustainability by Bob Doppelet, that discusses a methodology that manage rs can use to successfully lead their organizations to embrace sustainability. A Forum for Sustainability Officers

Are you now the sustainability officer for your organization? Have you been dubbed with additional responsibility for sustainability in your company? might be a great resource for you! is a new online community for sustainability professionals. It is free and a convenient way to post questions and information requests and receive e-mailed answers from your peers and experts in the sustainability profession.  There are some simple Do’s and Dont’s, so be sure to read that page.