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Sustainability

Greater than the sum of its parts

These days, sustainability, energy and environmental programs are becoming the rule rather than the exception for many types of organizations – with good reason. Sustainability programs are increasingly seen as being good for the bottom line, whether in terms of risk reduction or as part of a growth platform. But what if sustainability is about more than a handful of targeted programs? What would happen if companies put sustainability, energy and environmental issues at the center of their businesses, going beyond a strictly programmatic approach?

Building sustainability issues into every corner of your business isn’t something that happens overnight. We help organizations get started by taking an inventory of what they’re already doing in this area, then determine high-impact areas that can improve performance. Should you enter new sectors? Exit existing ones? Change how you make a product, or even which ones you make? From there, we create a roadmap to help your organization get from here to there as quickly and effectively as possible, all while building toward a more holistic approach to sustainability. Learn more about the offering.

Featured insights

CDP US Water Report 2013
Companies face a ‘license to operate’ risk if they are unable to effectively manage complex demands on water resources.

Getting ahead of the "ripple effect"
Water scarcity creates risks and opportunities. A water stewardship strategy should help business leaders identify and pursue value-creating initiatives, from cost reduction and innovation, to a reputation that creates further opportunities.

Separate or equal: Should environmental and social issues be an integral part of your business?
A number of leading companies are taking deliberate steps to make environmental, social, and governance (ESG) activities an integral part of their business strategy and operations. Is this new approach to ESG issues worth pursuing, or should companies stick with business as usual?

Life after Kyoto
The world's carbon market in 2013?

Making virtual work "Business as usual"
Creating a more flexible work environment.

Going from good to great: Ways to make your sustainability report business-critical
Learn how companies can make sustainability reporting business-critical through adopting a more robust methodology for determining environmental, social and governance (ESG) materiality.

Enhancing the value of life cycle assessment
This paper outlines how life cycle assessment can be used to assess the end-to-end environmental impacts of a business decision on overall value creation.

The sustainability-innovation connection: Making it work
Watch the Dbriefs webcast replay.

Sustainability reporting update: One big global family?
Watch the Dbriefs webcast replay.

Sustainability strategy 2.0: Next-generation driver of innovation
Read the article

About the Deloitte reSources 2011 study
Read the report.

Business analytics for the sustainable business
Read the report.

Sustainability in business today
A cross-industry view.

Environmental, social and governance reporting: Supporting informed decisions
Read the article.

A roadmap for sustainable consumption
Read the Deloitte Review article.

Meet our people

  • Kyle Tanger, Director, ClearCarbon Service, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Related offerings

Learn more about the offering

Beyond programs
The rise of technology offers a useful analogy for business leaders considering sustainability issues as part of their business strategy. In the early 1990s, technology was an important part of many organizations, but it wasn’t integral to their businesses. Shortly afterward, many leaders learned the hard way that if they weren’t thinking about how rapid changes in technology were changing their business, they would soon be left behind in a state of competitive disadvantage. These days, it’s hard to imagine any important business decision being made without considering the technology angle.

Today, few organizations have fully considered the transformative effect on business that sustainability issues may have. Ignoring the issue could cause organizations to miss big opportunities. And like technology, the full benefits of sustainability won’t come from a series of discrete programs. Instead, they’ll be generated when the whole business is viewed through the lens of sustainability. Finance. HR. Technology. Operations. Strategy. And more. That poses a challenge for companies that have normally viewed sustainability on a program-by-program basis.

How we can help

Building sustainability issues into every corner of your business isn’t something that happens overnight. We help organizations get started by taking an inventory of what they’re already doing in this area, then determine high-impact areas that can improve performance. Should you enter new sectors? Exit existing ones? Change how you make a product, or even which ones you make? From there, we create a roadmap to help your organization get from here to there as quickly and effectively as possible, all while building toward a more holistic approach to sustainability.

Here are some of the specific areas where we can help:

  • Sustainability and climate change strategy
  • Energy and resources management
  • Sustainable operations and supply chain
  • Sustainability governance
  • Sustainability reporting
  • Organizational alignment and stakeholder engagement
  • Information technology for sustainability

Bottom-line benefits

  • Align the sustainability mission with corporate goals
  • Generate a differentiated market position to drive incremental growth through business model and product or service innovation
  • Address the needs of stakeholders including customers, employees, policy makers, investors and risk assessors
  • Deliver cost savings or efficiency improvements by rethinking the role that energy, emissions & waste play in the value chain
  • Mitigate risks by getting ahead of environmental compliance issues and developing enhanced risk management capabilities

Four ways to create more value now

We’ve helped many types of organizations generate more business value from their approach to sustainability, energy and environment issues. Here are a few things we’ve learned along the way.

Define it. What does “sustainability” really mean? It’s a little different for every company – it depends on the business model, industry and market context. Examine sustainability through a clear understanding of customer, competitive and market issues, use that understanding to develop the definition that works for your organization and build your strategy around that.

Open your eyes to what you’ve already done. Many clients are surprised to find out all the sustainability activities in which their organizations are already engaged. In many cases, they’ve not assessed them in a comprehensive way. Understanding your baseline is an important first step – and often an encouraging one.

Balance local concerns with an enterprise approach. While sustainability is important at the local level, the key is to show results at the enterprise level. At many organizations, local efforts aren’t connected to one another. A smarter approach is to find good ideas at the local level and institutionalize them across the enterprise.

Make it measurable. If sustainability is a part of your overarching business strategy, it should be measured like any other equally important part of your business. Measure, assess and report your results against key performance benchmarks.

Sustainability in action

  • When a large commercial bank looked to take advantage of a groundswell of public interest in sustainability and climate change issues, we helped the company create a sustainability strategy aligned with its existing vision that would deliver new revenues and savings. We helped the company benchmark against a wide variety of peers around the world, worked with the executive team to establish key business imperatives and engaged leaders across the organization to build the case for change. Today, the company is following the roadmap we helped design as part of this engagement and has already considered a number of sustainability initiatives.
  • A large government organization needed to define its energy reduction and renewable energy goals, as well as to estimate the cost of meeting those goals, to remain compliant with broader government sustainability and energy efficiency goals. We helped the organization assess its plans and determine the feasibility of reaching its targets on time. As a result of this analysis, we were able to prioritize efficiency, technology, renewable energy and consumption goals, developing a comprehensive plan for reaching them. As a result of our work, the organization benefited from a clear, specific strategic investment approach for meeting its targets, including cost estimates and an investment timeline. We also identified organizational risks, developing a roadmap to help the client navigate through them to meet legal and organizational requirements.

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

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