Getting Top Management Buy-In for Sustainability

During the recent sustainability conference hosted by the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association (WBBA), I was asked a question that is much on the minds of professionals committed to sustainability: How do you get buy-in from top management to support sustainability programs?

On the face of it, this may seem like a simple question with a simple answer. After all, sustainability is no longer the stepchild of corporate responsibility, and larger corporations have robust programs that they proudly tout. But how do you, as a sustainability professional, translate that awareness into action in your organization?

The most direct answer is to demonstrate to management that an enhanced sustainability program is a benefit to the company on multiple levels. To do that, here are some steps you can take:

  • Get to know your CEO. The person at the top is often juggling a variety of issues and goals:
    • Budget management and reduction
    • Productivity
    • Personnel resources
    • Public relations
    • Product development, launch and life cycle
    • Government regulations
    • Investment goals
  • Figure out which are the top issues challenging your CEO and how increasing your sustainability efforts can help meet or exceed those goals.
  •  Put together a cost/benefits analysis. It makes an impact when you can outline a scenario showing that an initial investment can be paid off in a matter of months, and then result in ongoing cost savings into the future.
  •  Work with your company’s marketing people to help your CEO understand the press and public relations benefits of dedication to sustainability.
  •  Remind your CEO and CFO that for both investors, and larger corporations looking for buyout opportunities, viable sustainability programs are a solid check mark in the plus column.

These are just a few examples to help you along your way with a sustainability campaign to increase awareness in your organization. We at Ingenium would be happy to sit down with you, at no cost, and conduct a Complimentary Needs Analysis to identify specific methods to help productivity, and reduce cost and risk. We firmly believe that with increased sustainability, we all win.