Sustainability & Energy Efficiency

7 Steps to Setting Sustainability Goals for Your Company

3 min read

Establishing sustainable business practices isn’t just an environmentally friendly thing to do – it’s a competitive advantage! From saving on energy to generating great PR, cutting down on your consumables has major bottom-line benefits. In the process of making your company more sustainable, you may also discover inefficiencies that have long been stifling your growth.

That said, becoming more sustainable is often easier said than done. Perhaps you’ve had a few initiatives in mind for a while now, but you’re not sure where to start. You might even have experienced failures because your goals were unrealistic, or because you didn’t generate enough buy-in from the rest of your team.

Ultimately, setting clear, progressive, achievable goals is essential to realizing your sustainability objectives. Here are seven steps to setting realistic sustainability goals for your company.

1. Assess Your Current Usage

You can’t move forward if you don’t know where you stand. Your first priority should be to conduct a basic energy audit. Find out how much natural gas, electricity, oil and other resources you’re using before you attempt to curb their use. You might be surprised at the amounts you’re actually using, and your efforts will be far more effective if they’re based on reliable statistics.

2. Consider Your Strategic Objectives

Your sustainability goals need to be integral to your business, not separate from it. Few companies have room in their margins for unprofitable projects, and the right sustainability strategy will actually increase the efficiency of your business as a whole. The funds, natural resources and time you save should clearly and positively impact your product distribution, supply chains and manufacturing operations.

3. Gather Feedback from Your Team

What will the other energy personnel at your enterprise think about your initiatives? What about the workers who will carry them out? Even the best plans won’t work without enough buy-in from your team, and it’s essential to gather their feedback before you solidify your objectives. For any given project, start with the workers who are closest to the actual work that needs to be done, and who will be able to identify the shortcomings of existing procedures.

4. Consider Your Biggest Impact First

Once you’ve assessed your energy usage and polled your employees, you’ll need to focus first on your greatest opportunities for improvement. These will be the parts of your business where improvements are most needed and where you can make an impact quickly and cost-effectively. By going for the quick wins first, you’ll generate far more buy-in among your executives and board members, paving the way for more ambitious initiatives in the future.

5. Determine Realistic Targets

Realistic goals will depend upon your company – your current energy usage, funds, available energy alternatives and a host of other factors. Buy-in from your team will also make a major impact. All of these factors may improve in the future, but your first set of goals needs to be based on where you’re at now.

6. Set Your Budget

Your sustainability initiatives should ultimately benefit your bottom line, and setting a budget needs to be one of your first priorities. Your costs may include the design and development of on-site solar or wind generation, building services, the purchase of renewable energy certificates or other elements. Remember that some of these costs may be offset by the amount of energy you save, as well as any applicable tax credits.

7. Put Everything in Writing

Finally, you’ll need to put everything in writing – your goals, your budget and the steps necessary to achieve your objectives. You and your stakeholders need documentation that will maintain accountability among everyone involved, from executives and board members all the way down to the employees who will implement your plans.

Constellation offers a variety of options to help your business achieve its sustainability goals, from design/build services to structuring options. Some of these options require no up-front capital expenses and can be funded with savings you achieve over time.

We can provide as much or as little support for your project as needed, including implementation, operations, maintenance and fuel procurement. You can manage your own distributed generation assets or outsource management to us.

To learn more about how we can help, request a quote today. Let Constellation help you determine where you can make the most impact and achieve your targets in the coming years.

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