Leadership Blog

A Frontline Sustainability Culture

Posted on January 23, 2015 | in Leadership & Management, Sustainability | by

During the first weeks of this new year, Sustainability news and activities are appropriately garnering more attention than normal. This is partly a result of more awareness, more facts around current problems, and new technologies offering new solutions.

The first priority of Sustainability is to preserve the environment for future generations. However, many executives and leaders realize that huge financial benefits are generated from Sustainability initiatives. This is consistent with my experiences, where results invariably generate savings from reduced waste in addition to reduced landfill hauls.
One Fortune 500 CEO with a track record of consistently delivering growth in revenue, earnings, and shareholder price, recently related his beliefs to me with two comments about Sustainability:
1. “Look …I can’t save the world alone. Our company doesn’t have the resources or influence. But, we must do our part!”
2. “I fully believe and expect 99% of our Sustainability initiatives to make positive financial contributions sustaining the business as well as the environment.”

This leader “gets it”! His expectations and actions link Sustainability of the environment with waste savings for the business. As this attitude influences the frontline Sustainability culture, it is refreshing and inspiring for a leader to see their team “get it”! Through communication, education, coaching, focus, and follow-up, leaders quickly see a stronger culture of frontline execution. Observations and data reveal that the business is affected positively:
• Work areas are more organized.
• Housekeeping is improved.
• Waste is reduced.
• Monthly Cost Variance improves!

Subjective evidence also reveals that:
• Confidence grows because specific initiatives can be linked to expected results. Plans can work!
• The teams learn that Sustainability and Cost Savings are mutually inclusive.
• Sustainability practices are internalized and institutionalized.

The companies that “get this” find that they are not only fulfilling their role of protecting the environment but are saving money and subsequently have a competitive advantage.
Leadership, teamwork, focus, and follow-up! Again, it’s not rocket science. Just do it!

…And Pass It On!

The US Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC) is having their annual meeting May 6 & 7, with Zero Waste Certification Training May 5. I hope to see you there along with the hundreds of others, where we will be inspired as well as share ideas, best practices, and experiences of your sustainability mission!
For the agenda, check out Zero Waste in Action, an Elemental Impact Magazine:  http://zerowastezone.blogspot.com/2014/12/2015-zero-waste-conference-star-studded.html
To register for the meeting, go to http://www.uszwbc.org/2015conference/registration

Also, check out the USZWBC website at http://www.uszwbc.org

Quote from Jacqueline Novogratz, American entrepreneur and author: “Many business leaders are seeing the relationship between long term success and sustainability, and that’s very heartening.”



One Response to “A Frontline Sustainability Culture”

  1. Mike O'Neill says:


    You clearly “Get This”.

    Thank you for your sustainability insights.

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