To begin with, sustainability is not a formal standard with a guidebook for certification. It must be customised to fit each organisation. It has its own four horsemen - revenue, cost, brand, and risk – and that's where the journey must begin. This familiar quartet will help us understand what's inhibiting the conceptual leap from "important" to "critical" and help organisations start building their own game plan.
The goal of a corporate sustainability programme ought to be matching up environmental and social ambitions with corporate financial objectives in a relevant way, using the four horsemen to achieve a solid and balanced business case for a range of corporate activities. That's step one.
Step two means going deeper, and we've created a special scan to measure both strategic and operation sustainability initiatives in a more sophisticated way. Having run this scan many times, our research shows there are primarily two types of organisations: those that are focusing on strategy and those that concentrate on piecemeal operational initiatives. Sadly, we see a yawning gap between the two ends of the spectrum.