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Why Sustainability Management Software Is Critical to Program Success

The sustainability expertise and education provided by a consultant is critical to building a results-driven sustainability program. But what about managing it for the long-term? Sustainability management software will accelerate any company’s ability to build sustainability into its corporate culture and significantly boost the value of its consulting dollars and success of its long-term sustainability initiatives.

Here are the top three reasons why small and large organizations need sustainability management software to facilitate the ongoing management and success of sustainability-based business practices.

Reason #1: Sustainability Requires Coordination Across Business Functions

Sustainability is a complex set of business best practices that touch virtually all business functions. Therefore, having an expert to navigate these best practices is helpful, but it is only half of the battle. Providing all departments in your company with a collaborative workspace, or sustainability management software, where the different groups can operationalize the practices and learn from the work being done across the organization, is the critical other half to building a high-value sustainability program. Sustainability can be grouped into five categories of work:

  1. Environmental impact management, which involves a range of functions from facility management to compliance and purchasing.
  2. Social impact management, which engages individuals from human resources and legal, to customer and community relations.
  3. Governance impacts, which reaches the highest levels of decision-making within a company, including c-suite business managers, the board of directors, and investors, and addresses corporate culture, ethics, and how a company addresses risks and captures opportunities.
  4. Business model, which covers product R&D and supply chain management, and engages anyone charged with ensuring business continuity and innovating for a company’s future success.
  5. Sustainability management, which addresses how to assess and implement sustainability best practices to eliminate negative impacts in the other four categories and steer the organization toward a regenerative, positive impact future.

The breadth of sustainability means there are many moving parts when developing a strategy and implementing a program. Sustainability managers – those charged with embedding sustainability into corporate culture – need to enlist many different people across a wide range of functions for success. This is a big part of why sustainability management ranks among the hardest of change management programs to succeed in, according to Bain & Company. As a result, it is no wonder that sustainability consulting and collaborative sustainability management software are so critical to your success.

Reason #2: Initiatives Must be Efficient to Deliver Business Value

Sustainability management software helps organizations’ initiatives gain traction by tracking all moving pieces and making the work easier, faster, and more collaborative. It is the culmination of these benefits that ultimately delivers more value to your company’s bottom line.

Cloud-based software systems for sustainability management can dramatically streamline the process of implementing, tracking, and reporting on all your initiatives and their results. A comprehensive system provides users with foundational education tools that allow companies to allocate consulting dollars more sensibly, such as for high-value, specialized, and complex tasks.

Software that provides visibility into various projects across your company can spur a healthy competitive spirit and encourages good ideas and successful projects across otherwise siloed groups. Often, employees are empowered and encouraged to reflect their activities in the software system as work gets completed. This, plus automatic reminders, enhances accountability and engagement, eliminating the need to wait until a meeting or phone call for an update. This provides sustainability managers with leading indicators and insights, rather than lagging indicators of progress toward goals.

Beyond that, a platform that connects project work to the overarching goals of a company provides managers and consultants with a clear perspective on how goals are being achieved. Perhaps more importantly, these connections foster a greater sense of team-play, demonstrating to individuals how they are contributing to larger company objectives, while enhancing their sense of participation in purposeful work.

All these attributes of sustainability management software make it much more efficient (and faster) for managers to see and report on value creation, and for consultants to highlight and make recommendations on course corrections in areas where important work may be going off the rails.

Reason 3#: People Come and Go, But Your Framework Must Remain

Last, but certainly not least, people come and go. With sustainability management software integrated into your organization, however, both your sustainability knowledge and process methodology will be institutionalized and easily accessed. This is critically important for program continuity and growth, both of which are especially important factors in generating and delivering business value from your initiatives.

Beyond capturing the state of your program, sustainability management software also brings the added benefit of providing an audit trail. This makes it much less challenging for audit and assurance groups or consultants to do their work in validating your program results. With a uniform software system to support validation, investors and other stakeholders get higher quality and more reliable information, along with a greater sense of good management and implementation of best practices.

When your sustainability story is written in a collaborative space as you move along your journey and captured in an online sustainability management software designed for effective management and implementation, it makes telling your story (whether in formal reports or informal marketing) much easier. And, as an added benefit, it makes your consulting dollars go a lot further.

Do you need help getting started with sustainability management software? Contact Sustrana today.