Publications & Thought Leadership

July 2015

Sustainability Integration Continuum

Posted in Implementation and Integration

In order to become sustainable organizations, it is essential to begin the process of sustainability integration or embedment. This is the process of defining sustainability and then integrating it into everything the organization does. There are no proven formulas for sustainability integration or embedding sustainability into an organization’s governance and day-to-day operational decisions.

The sustainability integration continuum is a tool to help organizations with this task. It is designed to be used to prioritize the degree and nature of sustainability integration at an organization.

Leading sustainability companies know their sustainability integration strategy is as important as their sustainability targets and metrics.

This is a sustainability integration strategy tool to help organizations determine their preferences for the level and impact of sustainability embedment. The tool is designed to help company leaders decide how deeply they would like to embed sustainability into the business model and create a roadmap or work plan to pursue the desired level of sustainability integration.

The Sustainability Integration Continuum provides four options for sustainability embedment:

  • Operational
  • Strategic
  • Integrated
  • Social purpose

The Sustainability Integration tool considers seven dimensions:

  • Focus of integration
  • Philosophy
  • Relationship to strategy
  • Leadership
  • Marketing
  • Timeline
  • Business value

One way organizations can use the Sustainability Integration tool is to convene a meeting of managers or company leaders to assess their vision of and commitment to sustainability integration. The four optional levels generate different results, with varying costs and implications. By determining the preferred model and approach in advance, organizations are better positioned to realize success.

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