Setting SMART goals will make sustainable efforts less daunting.
Last week we talked about the benefits of getting your entire team on board with your sustainability goals. Now let’s take a closer look at those goals themselves.
Corporations, regulators and consumers are all looking for more “teeth” when it comes to reporting sustainable progress. “Greenwashing” isn’t good enough—everyone wants results that mean something. But achieving big results isn’t likely to happen overnight. Experience has shown that gradual transitions with thoughtful and achievable goals supported by tangible action plan —likely are more effective in the long run than extreme green makeovers.
Whether it’s reducing your carbon footprint, reducing emissions by X percent or increasing recycling by Y, it’s important choose concrete goals that are within your grasp. Be realistic—you don’t want to reach so far that your goal is unreachable, or worse, incomprehensible.
That’s why it’s important to set “smart” goals, or goals that are:
- Specific–What you want to achieve
- Measurable–The marker/milestone that indicates achievement (ex. total number of conversions, percentage of new sales)
- Agreed Upon–Who will take what actions to meet these goals
- Realistic–Attainable; within limits of resources
- Time-Related–How soon this results can (or should) be achieved
If you can’t make major changes right away, look for ways to achieve smaller but incremental wins, such as making regular upgrades. Conservation and recycling, for example, are good starting strategies that cost comparatively little to implement. More ambitious infrastructure improvements can be budgeted over time as your needs and resources permit.
You’ll also want to make your objectives as specific and quantifiable as possible. Set targets that can be verified by third parties—not just regulatory agencies and stakeholders, but also potential benefactors like the sustainable investing community. Be clear about the benefits your goals will provide in both your internal and external communication.
For more sustainability strategies that are working for the world’s leading companies, download our parathink briefing: Beyond Green: The Expanding Role of Sustainability. Click here to get your free copy.
Want to review your own sustainability strategy—or anything else that’s on your mind? Set up a complimentary 30-minute strategy session with us by clicking here.
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