3Q 2019

How Environmental Sustainability Offers a Strategic Priority for Businesses

In 2019, there is increased interest within organizations to become more environmentally sustainable. Corporate leaders face a host of pressures to implement sustainability initiatives. Consumers are more discerning of companies’ dedication to sustainability and use it as a factor when making spending decisions. Investors are also becoming more environmentally-conscious, divesting from carbon emissions-intensive companies and investing in organizations with lower carbon footprints. In addition, an ever-expanding patchwork of regulations at the international, national, state, and local levels impose new demands on companies. More than ever, businesses have a significant strategic interest in reorienting their business strategy and operations to become more environmentally sustainable.

However, organizations still have difficulty incorporating sustainability into their strategy and operations. The reasons for this are threefold: First, many organizations do not have a clear understanding of environmental sustainability, making it difficult to set defined and measurable goals as well as a plan of action. Second, organizations do not hold senior executives accountable for achieving sustainability goals. Third, organizations are unable to effectively engage employees to enact sustainability initiatives. It will be crucial to solve these obstacles as companies strive toward sustainability.

This Guidehouse Insights report identifies key barriers preventing companies from effectively operationalizing sustainability projects. It also provides examples of successful corporate environmentally sustainable practices. This includes discussion of technology, supply chain assessment, and marketing. The report outlines specific strategy recommendations for companies in the initial stages of implementing these initiatives.
Pages 11
Tables | Charts | Figures 1
  • What are the factors driving increased interest in corporate environmental sustainability?
  • What is the definition of sustainability?
  • What is a science-based target?
  • What corporate operations and processes would need to be modified to achieve sustainability goals?
  • What is an environmental, social, governance (ESG) framework?
  • How can companies engage employees to operationalize sustainability goals?
  • How can companies hold senior leadership accountable to achieve sustainability targets?
  • Sustainability leaders
  • Corporations
  • Nongovernmental organizations
  • Investor community




Factors Driving Interest in Corporate Environmental Sustainability

Defining Sustainability

Changing Stakeholder Expectations Forces Companies to Adopt Sustainability Initiatives

Prevalence of Climate-Related Risks Threatens Global Operations

Increased Pressure from Regulatory Agencies and NGOs

Organizational Changes Required to Achieve Sustainability Goals

Investments in Energy Efficient Utility Technologies

Supply Chain Impact Assessment and Program Development

Reorienting Marketing and Sales Strategies

Recalibrating Strategic Decision-Making Frameworks

Organizational Approaches to Implementing Sustainability Measures

Holding Senior Leadership Accountable

Motivating Stakeholders to Implement Sustainability Measures

Engaging Employees to Be Partners in Sustainability Targets

Taking the First Steps

  • Three Pillars of Sustainability
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