Sustainability has three main pillars: economic, environmental, and social and can be defined as 'meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs'.
This holistic view can be applied to any organisation, where a failure to consider all three elements will compromise the organisation's future.
Increasingly stakeholders want companies to demonstrate how they deliver goods and services in a sustainable manner. In turn organisations are far more aware of how doing the right thing for People and Planet can help to drive Profits.
Social Equity considers employee welfare, engagement and retention, equality & diversity, personal development, due diligence (e.g. modern slavery) and collaborative partnerships in the supply chain and supporting the community. Getting the people side right supports the other elements.
Environmental Protection - responsible organisations are highly aware of their impact of the planet and strive to reduce waste, minimise pollution & energy use and adopt a systematic approach to environmental management. Adopting good practices and reducing cost of waste supports the other elements.
Economic Viability - to be sustainable, a business must be profitable. Businesses that excel have great products and services that delight the customer, with a keen eye of margin and the bottom line. Quality and Continuous Improvement are key to staying ahead of the competition. An economically viable organisation is better placed to invest in improving all the elements.
Sustainability and Operational Excellence
Operational Excellence and its principles supports all aspects of sustainability through identifying and bringing value to the customer and respecting everyone. Value is defined by the customer - and they want organisations to deliver great products and services while doing what is right. In addition the principle of respect everyone can be addressed in a broader sense than just the workforce by asking these questions;
Who are our 'Customers' and 'Interested parties'?
How are we Respecting and bringing Value to these parties now?
How can we improve for the future?
Continuously assessing how you can bring value to current and future customers, stakeholders and interested parties and taking action will drive sustainability.
Effective Management systems are key to Operational Excellence and specifically address aspects of sustainability. Using recognised standards allows you to implement better systems and to measure yourself against common frameworks to demonstrate your commitment and successes.
ISO9001 - Quality Management
Quality, Process Approach and Continuous Improvement are at the heart of Operational Excellence. The ISO9001:2015 standard offers a robust and effective framework to manage quality and support an organisation's ability to consistently meet and exceed customer expectations (bring value). Certain industries require specific quality standards e.g. GMP, GxP (pharma and biotech), BS EN 9100 (Aerospace), ISO13485 (medical devices), IATF 16949 (Automotive) however the principle is the same - use these to establish a core quality 'mind-set' and in some cases adopt both these and ISO9001 to give a comprehensive QMS.
ISO14001 - Environmental Management
Implementation of this International Standard (and certification) can be used to assure interested parties that an effective environmental management system is in place and that you manage and positively control your environmental impact.
ISO45001 - H&S Management
Sustainable orgnanisations must constantly strive to provide workers and visitors with a safe and healthy business environment. ISO45001 provides a framework for controlling and eliminating factors that can lead to accidents and incidents.
Other standards support business sustainability through better management of risk, business continuity, cyber security etc.
Corporate responsibility often comes under terms such as; CSR - Corporate Social Responsibility, ESG - Environment, Social, and Governance, or SRI - Socially Responsible Investment. The goals are inherently the same, with a requirement for demonstrable plans that support organisational goals to be a 'more responsible' organisation.
In today's modern world, when setting strategic goals and striving for Operational Excellence, inclusion of responsibility aspects must form part of the the leadership agenda.
How can INCIGHT help ?
We offer the following services to help you;
Recommendations and Guidance
Support to ISO certification
Tools, Templates and Training