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Sustainability Tools

How do companies embed sustainability?

Numerous organisations around the world are working to create ‘tools’ to assist businesses in applying sustainability in their strategies and everyday operations. The two tools listed below are from IFAC and the Accounting for Sustainability Project.

IFAC Sustainability Framework

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) launched a Sustainability Framework in 2009.
http://web.ifac.org/sustainability-framework/splash

Climate Change resources at your fingertips …
IFAC's Sustainability Framework now has a resources section dedicated to climate change policy developments. It lists various links to articles and research on issues such as carbon disclosure, cap-and-trade systems, and sustainability reporting.
Click Here.

Sustainability Decision-Making Model

The The Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) promotes sustainability and develops tools and guidelines to assist organisations to implement sustainability strategies and practices. A4S believes that it is only through the integration of environmental and social factors into business and management reporting that the fundamental connection between strategic direction, financial performance and sustainability impacts will be made clear.


A4S has developed two tools to assist businesses in embedding sustainability:
 

  1. The ten main elements to embed sustainability successfully
  2. The sustainability decision-making model

Case studies and practical guidance are offered on www.sustainabilityatwork.org.uk  and www.accountingforsustainability.org

1.     The ten main elements to embed sustainability successfully

  • Board and senior management commitment
  • Understanding and analysing the key sustainability drivers for the organisation 
  • Integrating the key sustainability drivers into the organisation's strategy
  • Ensuring that sustainability is the responsibility of everyone in the organisation (and not just of a specific department)
  • Breaking down sustainability targets and objectives for the organisation as a whole into targets and objectives that are meaningful for individual subsidiaries, divisions and departments
  • Processes that enable sustainability issues to be taken into account clearly and consistently in day-to-day decision-making
  • Extensive and effective sustainability training
  • Including sustainability targets and objectives in performance appraisal
  • Champions within the organization to promote sustainability and celebrate success 
  • Monitoring and reporting sustainability performance.


 2.     The sustainability decision-making model 

A4S says that managers are rarely provided with the methodology and information needed to take their organisation’s strategic sustainability objectives into account in a meaningful, robust and consistent manner. The A4S decision-making model has been developed to show how sustainability issues can be taken into account more effectively in day-to-day decision-making processes. The methodology is divided into 3 broad phases:
 

  • Undertaking a review of the whole product or service range to understand the impact of the of the organisation's main sustainability objectives. If additional major sustainability impacts are identified during this process the organisation's overall strategy may need amendment.
  • Analysing the life-cycle of particular products and services to determine the impact of the key sustainability factors identified during the first more general review. This is an iterative process involving, for example, discussions with in house manufacturing and/or suppliers and other stakeholders.
  • Understanding all the various options and reaching a balanced fully informed and documented decision as to how the sustainability performance of the particular product or service can be improved.


    A4S has also developed a framework for a connected – or integrated – annual report. See the section on this site titled Integrated Reporting.

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