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It’s crucial to set specific and time-bound goals for your corporate sustainability efforts. Doing this before you begin can help clarify priorities across your entire organization and improve your ultimate performance.
Tips to set strategic goals
The Global Compact LEAD companies, a group of corporate sustainability leaders from all regions and sectors, have identified the following best practices:
- Focus on issues that are strategically important to your company: Start with where you believe the company has the most significant impact and where important business opportunities exist. This may mean going beyond operational boundaries. For example, you may want to set goals related to your supply chain or product use.
- Set stretch goals: This means setting some ambitious goals, even if you don’t yet know how to achieve them. This will stimulate innovation, investments, positive engagement and, ultimately, performance. Leading companies are setting science-based targets, defined by what the external world requires, rather than by what seems easily achievable.
- Connect your goals to your business strategy: Link each sustainability goal to how it will support revenue generation, productivity and/or risk management.
- Ensure support and ownership: You will need to secure and maintain broad organizational support for your company’s sustainability goals. This includes internal and external support, both from the top down and bottom up.
Connect your goals with the global United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
Making your sustainability goals public as commitments to society can help you communicate to
stakeholders the in-depth contribution your company is making to sustainable development.
If you are participating in the UN Global Compact, submit your sustainability goals to the online database on the United Nations website.
Implement your goals effectively
Integrate your sustainability goals throughout your company’s governance systems and processes:
- Internal accountability: Encourage individual business units and corporate functions to integrate relevant goals into their strategic planning, and hold them accountable.
- Performance reviews and remuneration: Where possible, you should also hold employees accountable, and reward high performers accordingly.
- Monitoring and reporting: Periodically review your progress, and make adjustments as needed. You can build trust with stakeholders by being transparent about your progress in achieving your goals, as part of your existing sustainability reporting.