Six success factors for driving integration
Regardless of where on this journey a company is, in our experience there are a number of activities that will help to support and steward the wider business as it undergoes this transition:
1. Lead strongly from the top: Visible and consistent leadership is essential to demonstrate to employees how and why sustainability will drive competitive advantage, and to foster a common understanding of what “good” means with respect to strategy, execution, and performance.
For example at the healthcare company Novo Nordisk the leadership team strongly reinforce the company’s Triple Bottom Line principle, which acts as a lens for decision-making across the business.
2. Support, engage and partner from the centre: The corporate sustainability function should continue to play a key role in orchestrating execution of strategy across business and functional units, through a combination of advice, challenge and collaboration.
3. Excel on performance management: An integrated sustainability performance management framework which aligns incentives closely to corporate strategy and values can act as a key spur in driving enterprise-wide commitment.
As previously reported by GreenBiz, Alcoa has made changes to its compensation plans to link them to energy intensity reduction and sustainable innovation.
4. Make key people accountable: Ensuring that business and functional unit heads have formal responsibilities will help drive action down into different parts of the company.
5. Coordinate and communicate at various levels and through various channels: A range of mechanisms — both new and existing — can be employed to help drive cross-functional collaboration and knowledge sharing, and send and receive information consistently to and from the corporate centre.
Volkswagen for example has developed both cross-functional CSR teams who work on specific cross-cutting issues, as well as international information exchanges that allow sharing of best practice across brands and regions.
6. Influence behaviour as widely as possible: To support execution and drive cultural change more broadly from the bottom-up, a range of levers can be used to embed sustainable behaviours in all employees.
Timberland — a company renowned for its engagement with employees on the CSR agenda — uses a range of techniques to empower individuals from across the business and enrich its CSR culture, including a well established volunteering scheme and a Global Stewards program.
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