Industry association sustainability programs: critical success factors

Published on November 27, 2013

A series – How to build industry association sustainability programs
Part 6 of 6

sustain-industries-6By 2050 our finite planet will host an estimated 9 billion people. That gives us 30 years to rewire business and industry to make it possible for those 9 billion people to live well. This is an important planning window for industry associations who support the competitiveness and productivity of their business and professional members. Efforts that start today are more likely to result in industry success over the coming decades. Waiting for government, customer or societal pressures before initiating action will result in a crisis-driven approach to course correction. Early action equals early benefits.

As an association begins to develop its sustainability program it’s helpful to be guided by the following success factors:

Critical Success Factors

  • Focus on key priorities where the industry can make an impact.
  • Start with small wins to demonstrate the benefit of working together; once you have the trust and the belief that change is possible, work toward larger or more ambitious goals.
  • Keep your membership engaged; make sure the effort is driven by the members.
  • Be transparent and involve stakeholders; get third party input.
  • Lead but don’t get too far ahead.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel.
  • Dedicate resources and association staff.

To get started, find your champions. Champions with passion are critical to successful program implementation. Set up a committee or working group to visualize the plan, determine how to measure success and test the concepts. Learn from best practices. Consider the tools I provide on my website. My Sustainable Industry Association Guide provides a roadmap for industry associations and their members advancing on the sustainability path.

The future beckons

Over the coming decades, society will grapple with serious global trends such as climate change, resource scarcity, ecosystem depletion and a growing social divide. Industries, professions and the associations that represent them will be called upon to help develop solutions that generate shared value for business and society. Leading associations will move beyond focusing on building their sector’s license to operate. They will engage in a fundamental rewiring of our humanity’s relationship to the planet and business’ relationship to society. The development of a sustainability program for members today is the beginning of a collective journey toward social, environmental and economic sustainability for all.

Subscribe to Coro’s Newsletter

A few times a year, Strandberg Consulting sends out a newsletter to keep Coro’s network up-to-date on her latest projects, publications and tools. You may subscribe to the newsletter here or visit the archives.

Join the sustainability conversation. Coro is active on Twitter and LinkedIn.