Many companies across industries have a sustainability officer. While some organizations don’t always have the bandwidth for such a position, it doesn’t mean that they, too, aren’t thinking about how to build sustainability into their processes.
But, that begs the question: how can sustainability be appropriately measured?
In our recent discussion with GHD Digital, we tackled the question, and Anand Ramachandran (Director, Digital Accelerator, GHD Digital) shared invaluable insights into how he sees companies integrating sustainability metrics into decision-making.
Sustainability Beyond the Four Walls of the Enterprise
As Anand points out, sustainability is fundamentally a network problem. While many typical business challenges fit elegantly into the four walls of an enterprise, sustainability tends to move beyond these walls quickly. This requires companies to broaden their vision in order to integrate sustainability into decision-making.
For example, while a company within its own four walls may run a clean, sustainable operation, if a product (or service) is sourced from an outside vendor – the vendor’s sustainable practices (or lack thereof) ought to be considered as well. By examining the vendor, a company can begin to conceptualize just how viable their own product or service is in terms of sustainability. It becomes clear that the goal of sustainability becomes much more meaningful and much more impactful if business practices move beyond the four walls of a company’s primary operations.
Consider industrial waste management. If a company creates wastewater and needs a vendor to handle the disposal, they will likely have multiple partners to choose from. Many may look the same in terms of waste removal capability. However, suppose one company operates using a fleet of electric vehicles and promotes sustainable practices. In that case, they may be a better fit as their own practices and values reflect that of the company requiring waste removal – and ideally, working with partners who adhere to sustainable practices doesn’t adversely affect the company’s cost profile.
Now more than ever, companies are able to select vendors and grow their networks based on multiple factors – and a vendor’s sustainability profile is quickly becoming one of the inputs in an organization’s decision-making process.
In the future, how companies model their network or enable clients to make decisions is going to become a critical part of the decision-making process. Currently, we’re at the very early stages of developing these models. That said, clients and customers are already hungry for a solution that can help incentivize decision-making based on sustainability. This hunger from clients will continue to promote the operationalization of growing holistically sustainable networks.
Listen in on our full discussion with GHD Digital – including a deep dive into automation and analytics strategies for water quality and sustainability here: