Sustainability initiatives require more than a great idea

An effective sustainability initiative requires more than a great idea, or simply using fewer materials or a desire to become environmentally friendly. You also have to consider who you are working with, who your end customers are, and the stakeholders in your business. These people play a huge part in your sustainability initiative’s success because they bring fresh ideas, valuable insight, and unique advantages to your business strategy. As well, you get the most benefit by cultivating a group of diverse stakeholders from different areas and with varying goals.

Why It Is Important To Have Diverse Stakeholders

By forming meaningful relationships with other companies, and businesses across various industries, your customers, non-profit organizations, and your local government, you open the door to both input and options from a wide variety of people. These people can help you identify inefficient process, waste and can brainstorm new ideas, goals and solutions. They have different perspectives and can help you to see a bigger picture. It is difficult to address a big issue such as sustainability without considering how to address the needs of as many people as possible.

What Major Companies Say About Their Stakeholders

AT&T says:
[blockquote cite=”AT&T” align=”left” reverse=”off”]“[we] engage stakeholders to understand their perspectives, as well as to gain their insights into emerging trends, risks and opportunities for our business. These are important conversations that help us better drive sustainability into our business operations.”
Stakeholder engagement – whether it occurs through dialogue, structured collaboration or formal alignment – is a means to help inform decisions, identify solutions and contribute to progress on specific social and environmental issues. Through our engagement with stakeholders, we seek to continually improve our business operations and policies, helping to improve the long-term health of both AT&T and the communities in which we live and work.”[/blockquote]
Coca-Cola describes their outlook:
[blockquote cite=”Coca-Cola Company” align=”left” reverse=”off”]“Engaging our diverse stakeholders in long-term dialogue provides important input that informs our decision making, and helps us continuously improve and make progress toward our 2020 sustainability commitments.
Effective and ongoing stakeholder engagement is a core component of our business and sustainability reporting initiatives. We recognize the value of maintaining an active dialogue with a diverse group of global partners, including bottling partners, consumers, customers, distributors, employees, government agencies, investors, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and nonprofit partners.
We apply our Golden Triangle partnership approach to our stakeholder engagement work, spanning the public, private and civil society sectors. We recognize and embrace the idea that the collaborative power of partnerships can achieve much greater collective impact than would be possible by any one organization or sector working in isolation.”[/blockquote]

What You Can Do To Make The Most Of Your Stakeholders

You can get started with Lora Phillips’ tips for stakeholder communications. Lora is Symantec’s Senior Manager of Global Corporate Responsibility, and she discusses the most effective communication channels, how to maintain a consistent message with your diverse group of stakeholders, and more.

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