Sustainability and Operational Excellence

We are often asked how Operational Excellence links to Sustainability within an Organisation. In this blog we expand on our philosophy and approach in helping organisations on their journey.

Increasingly stakeholders want companies to demonstrate how they deliver goods and services in a sustainable manner and in turn, organisations are far more aware of how doing the right thing for People and Planet can help to drive Profits. Our view is that 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. Failure to consider all three elements will almost certainly compromise the organisation's future growth.

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.

Operational Excellence is all about the delivery of value to customers through the least wasteful and most effective and efficient means. Since value is defined by the customer who implicitly and often explicitly want organisations to deliver great products and services while doing what is right, identifying and bringing value to the customer intrinsically links Operational Excellence with Sustainability.

We ask these questions when working with our clients;

  1. Who are the 'customers' and 'interested parties'?

  2. How do they want, need or expect the organisation to behave?

  3. How does the organisation respect and bring value to these parties now?

  4. How can you improve for the future?

Continuously assessing how you can bring value to current and future customers, stakeholders and interested parties will drive sustainability. 

What can organisations do include 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.

Responsibility Programs

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 Sustainability and Responsibility must form part of the the leadership agenda

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Implement suitable management systems

  2. Identify the customers and interested parties and their sustainability needs

  3. Incorporate these needs into your value streams

  4. Initiate a CSR program with senior leader ownership

  5. Start now - don't wait !

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