Step Strategy and Program Development

After defining a list of strategies, plot them out and prioritize which ones are appropriate to tackle first. Though it is often tempting to take on the "low-

Table 4.1 Questions to Ask Before Starting

Category

Questions

Human Capital and Behavior

• Who needs to be involved in developing and implementing a holistic sustainable program?

• What about the organization needs to change to establish a credible sustainable program that will maintain integrity?

• Are green training programs in place?

• Are there incentives/disincentives in place for encouraging sustainable behavior?

Technology

• Are virtual communications available and leveraged?

• Do employees store information electronically (as opposed to depending on paper)?

• Are smart building systems in place to track and minimize energy and water use?

Operations

• Are policies in place to support alternative work?

• Is there a recycle and reuse program in place for furniture, electronics, equipment, phones and other products?

• Are green policies in place for purchasing (consumable goods, durable goods, local food)?

• Are contracts and leases green?

• Are employees encouraged to use alternative transportation?

Design

• Does the workplace provide a productive, healthy work environment?

• Are any facilities currently LEED, BREEAM, Energy Star certified (or reviewed by some other third-party)?

• Does the building's design minimize the use of energy, water, and raw materials?

hanging fruit" first, projects that are easier to implement might not always have the highest net positive environmental impact. Once the "greener" options have been determined, then you can start with those that are less costly and will take fewer resources to implement.

Let's face it: Most companies do not have a budget for sustainable initiatives and are not always enthusiastic about re-budgeting dollars for a problem that was not on their radar during the budgeting process the year before.

Quick wins that tie to a measurable green impact will enroll management and employees faster and help build momentum. Figure 4.4 is a tool for quickly illustrating how green strategies rank according to their environmental implementation.

Let's assume that you have identified the obstacles to making your workplace green and you are ready to tackle them. Now it's time to create refined strategies and develop a plan for implementation. It's also the time to consider putting some numbers on paper to test the financial impacts of the programs or projects identified. Questions to consider at this stage:

• How important is this program to our sustainable mission?

• Does this program conflict with our overall organizational goals?

Figure 4.4: Compile a list of green strategies and then sort them by ease of implementation and environmental impact.

■ Green comracts and leases

• Start recycling program

• Start carpooling program

■ Perform energy audit

- Increase natural light ■ Add motion sensor technology • Improve building information management system

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■ Replace light bulbs

■ Add preferred parkingfor alternative fuel vehicles and carpoois

• Replacing outdated building or office equipment - Presorting all recycled materials easy

EASE OF IMPLEMENTATION difficult

• Will the costs and effort required withstand the scrutiny of our stakeholders?

• Does the organization have the resources to execute this program in a way that will ensure its success?

• Are there other forces at play that could jeopardize our investment in this program today?

• How long will this program take to implement?

• How does each of these individual projects or programs fit into a larger picture?

Each of the strategies recommended should tie back to your charter or business plan. This way, resources spent (even on small projects) can be traced back to larger goals and measures.

Sometimes pulling all of this information together at once can be a challenge. One global financial institution with roughly three hundred thousand employees recently used this process as a means of evaluating its entire real estate portfolio and business practices to develop corporate initiatives. To streamline the process, the company sent out detailed surveys to key stakeholders across thirty business units, then rolled up the results together under seven regions. Engaging many employees in the process (through the survey and other means) allowed the project team to quickly spot sustainable opportunities and challenges across the business. One especially important benefit of collaborating with different groups across the organization was comparing notes about work already done and understanding methodology used to collect or report data across all business units. Moving forward, the company chose to measure its "impact" based on six categories—not just the environment. They considered employees, customers, business process, profit, publicity, and environmental impact to develop priorities and a context for future strategy development.

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