Your Essential Guide to Creating a Sustainability Plan

A sustainability plan is essentially a roadmap to help companies take climate action and reduce their overall carbon emissions.

What is a sustainability plan?

A sustainability plan is essentially a roadmap to help companies take climate action and reduce their overall carbon emissions. A good sustainability plan includes short-term and long-term goals as well as an outline of necessary action to achieve these goals. 

Why do you need a sustainability plan?

Whether you're in the banking industry and facing looming regulations or a retailer trying to meet consumers’ growing expectations, prioritizing climate action can be overwhelming. 

Where do you start? And, how do you know if your initiatives are successful? 

To help answer these questions, we’ve created this essential guide to assist companies with building a comprehensive sustainability plan from start to finish.

  1. The first thing you need to do is assess your environmental impact by calculating your carbon footprint. Once you know your footprint, you have the ability to define success when it comes to lowering your overall emissions. 

  1. Step two is dissecting your footprint to understand your largest source of emissions. For many B2B businesses it’s transportation involving company owned or leased vehicles.  For B2C companies, the largest source of emissions is usually what are considered scope 3 indirect emissions which includes purchased goods and services, waste and business travel. By breaking down your carbon assessment, you can easily identify areas within the business where reduction will be simpler and places where it will be more challenging to “clean up” your act. 

  1. Next, it’s time to set reduction goals and build a timeline for reaching your targets. This type of planning will inspire you to stay on track and give employees and customers visibility to your plan of action. Examples of sustainability goals include: creating a travel policy to eliminate unnecessary flights and encourage cleaner commuting, and reducing waste through composting and ecycling. 

Bonus tip: Putting together a Green Team, or Sustainability Committee, within your organization can help with goal setting and executing initiatives. Read more about how to build a successful Green Team here

  1. The fourth step - and one of the most critical elements to a sustainability plan - is to track your progress. You've set the goals and identified the actions necessary to be successful, now you need to mark when certain goals are reached and celebrate your accomplishments. This is a great way to engage your employees, customers and shareholders! By telling your story, it encourages other businesses to take action as well. 

Getting started can be the hardest part, but these four steps will allow you to build a meaningful sustainability plan that will help your business and the planet. 

The Green Places platform is designed to simplify sustainability and help you through every step of the journey. We offer trusted technology to calculate your carbon footprint and build a sustainability profile to help initiate action. Within our tool, you can set goals, track your progress, access marketing content and download reports to share. Click here to learn more. 

Understanding How Our Natural Environment Sequesters Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

The planet has its own natural resources in place to help regulate the carbon in our atmosphere called carbon sinks. Carbon sinks are responsible for keeping the carbon cycle in balance and work to lower the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide.