This story is one of 24 outstanding entries selected as finalists in the Long-Term Capitalism Challenge, the third and final leg of the Harvard Business Review / McKinsey M Prize for Management Innovation.
The “green” movement continues to increase in reach and scope, increasing numbers of consumers and businesses are placing a greater emphasis on developing strategies that will reach across the entire organization and transform standard business practices.
Businesses want to embrace green and sustainable practices but they haven’t had a blueprint. Grainger is a key cog in a dynamic supply chain that is increasingly embracing Green. Grainger’s consulting group is on the frontlines helping businesses navigate towards more sustainable solutions that drive results.
W.W. Grainger, Inc. is North America’s leading broad-line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) products, with an expanding global presence.
Grainger is a business-to-business distributor of products used to maintain, repair or operate a facility. Millions of customers worldwide rely on Grainger for pumps, motors, hand tools, janitorial supplies and much more. These customers represent a broad collection of industries including healthcare, manufacturing, government and hospitality. They place orders for Grainger products at local branches, online, via fax or over the phone. More than 3,500 manufacturers supply Grainger with approximately one million products that are either stocked in Grainger’s distribution centers, available online or available through sourcing. These industrial products are shipped either directly to customers or to Grainger branches for local availability.
Grainger is determined to be a leader in setting the MRO standard for sustainable, environmentally-friendly facilities. Grainger strives to manage its own operations, in addition to helping customers manage theirs, with cost effective, sustainable practices and solutions. Grainger is the first industrial supplier to have a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) facility and today operates 14 LEED certified facilities, more than 3.5 million square feet of LEED certified space.
For most organizations, indirect material procurement represents a considerable opportunity for cost reduction and improved process efficiencies. Grainger Consulting Services® was established in the early 90’s to perform indirect materials management consulting for Grainger customers who are interested in strategic solutions specifically related to driving down the total cost of maintaining their facility. We work with our customers to build a comprehensive total cost summary and make recommendations on opportunities to improve.
In December ’07 the Energy Independence and Security Act passed. It had 14 different components on how the Government will operate in a more sustainable and energy efficient manner. For example, it established some guidelines around NEMA premium motors becoming the new standard as well as elements specific to lighting legislation. The Government was in essence leading the way on adopting sustainable practices and encouraging businesses to follow suit. This was a catalyst because this is when they started to provide incentives to business for things like lighting retrofits and energy retrofits. Grainger has a long-standing position of helping businesses & government customers take advantage of opportunities.
Five years ago customers were asking us for help navigating to opportunities to improve their operations through improved sustainable practices. Initially we helped identify rebates and benefits but quickly realized that many customers didn’t know where to start in building a sustainability program and thought it would be more costly. In ’08 we established a sustainability sub-team within consulting services. The primary focus was to help create a common understanding of the sustainable opportunity, analyze the cost implications of adopting sustainable practices and establish guidelines to help customers establish goals & create plans.
Today, our customers know where to begin. They begin with motivating factors for why they have a sustainability program and then move into specific categories. Sustainability has grown to be more than just energy efficient products, incentives, and rebates. We have leveraged our Sustainability Consulting Practice to share best demonstrated business practices, ideas, contacts, resources, and services with our customers (businesses and institutions). On average, our customers can drive an additional 25-30% in costs out of their business through better inventory management practices while being better stewards of the environment. We coach them on how to get better adoption through change management strategies and connect them to other customers in like industries. We share ideas and resources from other consulting engagements, supplier resources, and our involvement with sustainability committees and green teams. As a result, we assist them with their sustainable operation and sustainable education.
Grainger Consulting Services – Sustainability
The idea for a sustainability sub-team was conceived from a growing interest across a team of consultants. The Green Building Council was becoming more main stream so we decided two of our consultants would enter the program to become LEED AP. This helped educate us on what it takes to be a sustainability expert. We were trying to figure out what Grainger could offer from a product, services and resources perspective. The U.S. Green Building Council did a great job of defining what it means to green a facility. As we were studying LEED AP we were trying to find a way to articulate how customers were able to grow their business at a lower incremental cost (on funds they were going to spend anyway). When we started to talk with customers about the potential to stretch their dollars through programs like lighting retrofits and energy rebates, they were interested because it shortened the payback on investments significantly. This was just before the recession hit. With the recession came a heightened intensity around driving productivity. The recession was a catalyst for the sustainability field in that the conversation shifted toward the cost savings opportunity.
Because the field was somewhat ambiguous five years ago, businesses didn’t have staff members dedicated to green/sustainability and less than half of corporations even had a Green plan or mandate. There were many shades of green out there - - many companies were looking at green from a social responsibility perspective and less about a cost savings initiative. We began to educate our largest customers and we asked our suppliers to join us in the conversation to bring new ideas and fresh perspectives to help advance adoption and interest in Green solutions. When we were out in the field in those days having conversations with customers about inventory management the two biggest concerns they articulated were they didn’t know where to begin and there was a perception that it was going to cost them more money to adopt a program. We showed them where to begin to start building out a plan and we showed them ways to actually drive costs out of their business.
Customers’ appetite for green solutions began growing beyond just the energy solutions. To stay out in front of their growing demand, we began aggressively adding sustainable products to our product portfolio. Over the course of the next couple years we went from 2,000 products in our portfolio to over 14,000. As customers were asking us to get more engaged on Green and we were putting more resources against it, we began having more sophisticated conversations with customers. At the same time, we were working upstream with our product suppliers to ensure they were bringing more products to market to satisfy the demand.
By 2010, more than 80 percent of corporations had a Green program. Now the concerns are more about establishing a structure approach to a sustainability strategy, adoption -- getting employees and customers to change their behavior, and tying sustainability programs to other areas of the business. For example, taking the stairs instead of the elevator will save energy, money, CO2 and can tie to a company’s wellness program for taking the stairs.
In April ’11, my colleague Al Johnson and I took a fresh look at how we help customers with varied sophistication around sustainability - - from companies far along the continuum to customers just getting started (most customers already knew to look at rebate opportunities).
Al and I built a workshop model that is a customer-led coaching approach for sustainability driven by the motivating factors for People, Planet and Profit. We developed a new consulting approach -- we customize the workshop around what individual customer’s determine are important to them (their goals). It was different from traditional approach of baseline: current state - - Strategy: identifying opportunities - - execution: recommendations (come in after a strategy & leadership alignment has occurred).
We start all conversations working to understand the motivating factors of a customer (e.g. social, profit, planet, compliance, or productivity). The motivating factor defines the ‘WHY’ of the sustainability program. It is the foundation for the structure of a solid sustainability strategy. Once we identify the motivating factors, we can then structure a sustainability plan to identify key objectives that are needed for each sustainable category. This format allows us to scale the opportunity down to identify the products, services and resources to help customers achieve their sustainability goals. The output of our 5 Step Coaching Workshop is a scalable, structured plan for all employees to rally around.
Approach – 5 Step Coaching Workshop Developed
Step 1: Vision: The first segment of coaching focuses on helping draft a new, or enhance an existing, sustainability vision statement. In order to complete this task, we spend time reflecting on past wins and challenges related to sustainability. Next, our team will spend some time level setting where the organization stands today on the sustainability continuum. Based on where your facility has been, and where you are today, the final step in this segment of coaching is to deliver a sustainability vision statement that will serve as the guiding light for your sustainability strategy.
Step 2: Strategy: The second segment of coaching is to define, design, and develop an actionable sustainability strategy. In order to complete this task, time is spent defining the Key Result Areas (KRAs) for sustainability within an organization. Next, our team spends time understanding which of those KRAs are relevant to a facility. From relevant KRAs, high level objectives are extracted through our coaching process. Those objectives are then translated into Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART) objectives that will feed a custom sustainability project plan built just for a customer. In the process of creating SMART objectives, we also spend some time coaching teams through identifying key milestones and metrics that will be used down the line to measure progress. The final step in this segment of coaching is to prioritize KRAs and supporting objectives. A Grainger sustainability coach will facilitate dialogue around the cost, effort, return, savings, and environmental impact of each KRA and objective. Working with a customer's sustainability team, one or several of these priority metrics will be used to help determine the order of events for an action plan. In the end, the sustainability strategy is reflective of the vision statement crafted in segment one and will serve as the guiding light for involving the right leaders.
Step 3: Leadership: The third segment of coaching is to identify, educate, and engage the right leaders within the organization. In order to complete this task, time is spent analyzing organizational structure and overlaying a sustainability strategy. Next, our team spends some time partnering with customers to discuss key areas in the business that need to be directly and/or indirectly involved. After key areas are determined, we’ll turn our attention to highlight specific individuals who will need to be educated or engaged as we move forward. This segment of coaching represents the most critical step in the process. Without the right sponsorship and awareness, front end strategy development or back end strategy execution becomes an uphill battle – in some cases, impossible. When done correctly, the outputs of this area serve as the guiding light for ensuring smooth and flawless execution of a sustainability strategy.
Step 4: Execution: Put me in Coach! The fourth segment of coaching focuses on translating ideas into action. In order to complete this task, the SMART objectives created in segment two are transferred into a detailed project plan (could be in Microsoft Project, Excel, current CSR planning, etc. based on how a business operates). The project plan is built in partnership with your Grainger sustainability coaches, but responsibility for execution of the plan falls squarely on the shoulders of our customers and their sustainability team – a key reason the third segment of leadership identification, education, and awareness is so critical. The sustainability project plan will be complete with SMART objectives/tasks, resources, dependencies, and any other critical information aligned on during its creation to put a customer in a position for desired success and progress. The time for completion of a plan is not known up front and will vary depending on the inputs. Regardless of time for completion, the outputs will serve as input and guides for the final segment of coaching where we partner to check and adjust the overall process.
Step 5: Control: The fifth and final segment of coaching focuses on three areas: measuring progress, gauging whether progress is behind, on, or ahead of schedule, and identifying any necessary continuous improvement efforts. In order to complete this task, the metrics and milestones created during the strategy segment of coaching will be utilized to measure and gauge progress. Setting metrics and milestones early in the process allows for objective, candid backend measuring that holds all business partners involved accountable for results. In partnership with Grainger sustainability coaches, customers review what their organization needs to start, stop, continue, and/or edit to continue and enhance their future sustainability success and progress. Though this segment represents the final coaching segment in our process, it merely represents a point a time in which the entire process begins to repeat – sustainability strategy development and execution is not a onetime event, rather a process and journey that will evolve with time and constantly need to remain in focus. At the close, any necessary next steps involving Grainger can be discussed.
Early 90’s Grainger launches its consulting practice focused on helping large customers better understand their indirect material purchasing processes and implement programs to be more efficient.
2008 Adoption of first LEED standard
2008 Grainger sustainability principles drafted
2008 Sustainability Consulting team formed
2008 First consulting assignment
2010 This food manufacturer started its sustainability initiative at its Arkansas plant and Green Team was established with an initial focus on waste reduction
2011 Green workshop developed & piloted
2011 Grainger Sustainability Services engages with ConAgra Food's Arkansas plant to help map out plans for the future
The key challenge in launching and supporting our sustainability practice for Grainger Consulting Services was that Grainger has very large, complex, multi-site customers with very robust sustainability programs and other customers just beginning to build their sustainability programs – and we needed to have a solution that would work for any company no matter the size or complexity. Our 5 Step Coaching Workshop has proven to work for all organizations. Not only can we support customers with their sustainable operations, but due to our reach we are able to share best practices across industries and business segments.
In the case of ConAgra Foods Russellville plant, they were already doing some great things in sustainability. We helped put structure around it and we helped connect it to corporate goals and objectives. Corporate wasn’t aware of the aggregate story that was forming in their network. We try to tie our sustainability engagements to a customer’s corporate goals in areas like wellness, supplier management and education.
Interest in Grainger’s sustainability solutions is growing significantly. At our recent Grainger customer show, 2,500 professionals attended a keynote address on Green as well as sustainability workshops which has led to many new corporate sustainability engagements. In April, the leader of green/sustainability for a large beverage manufacturer invited me to lead a sustainability webinar for their “green” lead professionals from 100 of their sites. This opportunity came about from the head sustainability manager at the beverage company reading about Grainger’s workshop in an industry blog.
CASE STUDY: Food & Beverage (ConAgra Foods)
In August 2011, Debbie Stanley, Sr. Environmental Specialist from ConAgra Foods in Russellville, AR, reached out to Grainger Consulting to assist with strategies to reduce the 1M gallons/day water usage at one plant. They wanted to conserve more water by looking at a hose nozzle and find some alternate products to reduce usage.
While conducting our site assessment we realized that the water usage from the nozzle wasn’t the issue. There were larger issues perfectly suited for the 5 Step Coaching Workshop. Their biggest challenge was getting adoption of behavior across all shifts. We conducted the site assessment at 3 a.m. and some of the messaging they were promoting as a sustainability team wasn’t translating to the third shift. When we asked people on that shift what they were doing to conserve water they acknowledged the corporate goals but they talked about needing to get the lines prepped for the food lines the next day. They didn’t pay too much attention to the sustainability goals.
We quickly knew it was a management message opportunity. We shared this with the Green Team when they arrived to work at 6 a.m. We told them we could recommend new products but the products they had in place were sufficient. The real opportunity was educational programs, providing initiatives and incentives for reducing water consumption. Our recommendation was that these educational opportunities would have a greater impact at a lower cost (vs. new products). We got them to think differently about Sustainability. Instead of focusing on categories they began to look more holistically at the opportunity.
Al and I then set up a time to take the Green team through our 5 Step Coaching Workshop. We started by helping them build their vision statement. (ConAgra Foods Russellville aims to reduce the use of natural resources by engaging and educating our team members on our plant sustainability objectives. We seek to lower our operational costs by focusing on water conservation, energy conservation and landfill reduction.) They created a category around education that they never had before. Our process really encourages this sort of innovation. They created a category called educational awareness and identified 8 objectives around education alone with categories such as refresher training, creating cross-functional teams, audits and monthly updates and recognition. They created water and waste sub-green teams due to the large emphasis and passion in these categories.
They have turned their waste into a revenue stream! We helped defined their goals and objectives and their sustainability vision for this one plant. We help them to lead their own strategy development session - - set goals & objectives. This includes defining wins from the year and challenges they have faced or things that have kept them from attaining wins.
ConAgra Foods had a strong leadership foundation established by Debbie and a voluntary green team of more than 20 people with a strong passion to make a difference. When Al and I left after that first day with the team, we worked on the framework of a plan and hosted coaching conference calls with the green team until they felt comfortable taking ownership of the plan. During the Execution phase of our process, we then worked with Grainger’s product management team to identify hose nozzles; we worked with some of our third party resources to do assessments and managed all activities through our local Account Manager. As assessments were completed and opportunities identified, we were in a better position to analyze the projected costs, savings, and return on investment. This is the Control phase where we can better prioritize the opportunities and manage the operating budget more effectively.
After taking the plant’s green team through our 5 Step Coaching Workshop, we identified 34 goals and objectives at one plant and 23 objectives at a second plant. The workshop approach created buy-in from the key players around the plants and caused a shift in how they approached their sustainability program. This innovation was catalyzed by our consulting arrangement. A critical component was setting the goals in SMART format (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely). We had a lot of trust and credibility with this food manufacturer because we have been a partner for their sustainability initiatives for a few years. We assisted with their lighting retrofits, waste stream audits and various other projects, which has made this plant one of this food manufacturer’s most sustainable plants. However, the major difference between our coaching approach versus a traditional consulting approach is that the program is designed for the customer. In other words, we are not pitching or selling anything because it is based on the customer’s goals and objectives. Although Grainger can assist a customer with products, services, resources, and solutions, there are many objectives that are internal or outside the scope of our focus of facilities maintenance. Once the green team figured out that the output is a structured, strategic plan to assist them in managing their sustainability program more effectively, they began creating objectives on their own. This output became the format for how they structured their meeting and communicated what they were doing to align with their Corporate Social Responsibility goals.
Quote from Debbie - - “Part of the reason for our success is that our Green Team is made up of all hourly team members who own the process. They are involved in the change and help define what changes need to be implemented. Our Green Team members lead different categories. For example we have a team member who feels passion for water reduction and she’s leading that part of the plan.”
Debbie volunteers her time on this program and leads the Green Team. She is an EHS professional by trade and does an extraordinary job leading their program. They have people lining up to join their Green Team. They actually interview team members for participation on the Green Team. This is the most sustainable plant the food manufacturer has in their network.
As the leadership team has taken ownership of the sustainability plan, three of the objectives identified during the workshop were nominated for awards at their corporate annual sustainability awards conference in April. This is a great testimonial of how they reinforce the importance of the program and get more people interested in participating. If chosen, those objectives will be implemented at all locations and the EHS Manager and her team will receive a $5,000 award to donate within her community.
Grainger Consulting has been asked by their corporate office to replicate the workshop approach at other divisions and locations around the company.
Quote from Debbie - - “Our Green Team has had some big aspirations. Grainger’s big role in our sustainability plan was getting us focused so we achieved some of our goals. The turning point for us was when we worked together to create our vision statement for sustainability.”
What started as a pilot program in one plant around a few objectives quickly expanded and spread virally though the plant and into other plants. This also fueled other engagements and reverberated throughout the Grainger ecosystem (suppliers, customers).
ConAgra Foods shifted the way they were thinking about sustainability and the culture shifted to embrace the necessary changes to be successful and the corporation reinforced that this is a new desired behavior through the award program.
Debbie has been a big advocate at corporate to help spread the innovation to other plants. Grainger has already been to two additional plants to conduct similar workshops.
Quote from Debbie - - “Our team members have felt the benefit of the feel good side which is doing something positive for our planet and our community. It also helps us with the competitive edge, doing the cost avoidance and bringing in revenue from waste reduction or saving energy costs. That makes everybody happy.”
- Restroom source reduction initiative saved over $11,000 diverted over 11,000 tons of waste diversion while improving sanitary conditions (solution presented with our supplier partner Georgia Pacific).
- The diversion rate went from 29% in 2009 up to 78% currently. Essentially they diverted from the landfill.
- Lighting retrofit reduced energy consumption by 29% and saved $140k through incentives and rebates.
- Through Grainger Consulting team’s recommendation on improving water leaks throughout the facility, the plant expects to save 80,000 gallons of water per day. An initiative that is up for a corporate award and the possibly be implemented at all plants. Through a Grainger supplier partner, a waste stream audit was conducted and this location has identified a way to turn their waste into a revenue stream.
Quote from Debbie - - “We’ve created a revenue stream from our recycling program. In 2010 we had checks in hand for $1 million from our recycling vendors; Grainger helped us research vendors. In 2011 the revenue went up to $1.4 million and we had cost avoidance for another $1 million over the last 2 years. It’s been a big impact for ConAgra Foods in Russellville.”
These pilot programs can be replicated through the ecosystems of large customer accounts. These successes – financial, human and environmental – promulgate a viral effect. They could be tied into corporate goals, wellness programs, HR, or their supply chain. This is something customers are thinking more & more about. These programs also reverberate through Grainger’s customer & supplier network. Grainger shares best practices and new ideas across its diverse customer base.
Benefits & Metrics for ConAgra-----------------------------------------------------------
Overall, we take our customers sustainability goals and objectives and scale it in a structured way to make better informed decisions about their operation versus a shotgun approach at sustainable categories. Therefore, we are viewed as a partner in helping customers achieve their goals and objectives, instead of a supplier of product.
The EHS manager at ConAgra has done interviews, testimonials, and promoted our workshop to Corporate. Some of our customers want to network with the EHS manager to figure out how they may turn their waste into a revenue stream like they did. We often connect our customers with one another to share best practices.
Sustainability has grown to be more than just energy efficient products, incentives, and rebates. We have leveraged our Sustainability Consulting Practice to share best demonstrated business practices, ideas, contacts, resources, and services with our customers (businesses and institutions). On average, our customers can drive an additional 25-30% in costs out of their business through better inventory management practices while being better stewards of the environment. We coach them on how to get better adoption through change management strategies and connect them to other customers in like industries. We share ideas and resources from other consulting engagements, supplier resources, and our involvement with sustainability committees and green teams.
Benefits & Metrics on general day-to-day operations ----------------------------------------------------------
No longer is being “green” a one-time initiative or a siloed department, it is now a way of life for many of our customers.
Sustainable operations shift purchasing processes - Facilities Managers are looking for ways to drive cost out of their business as they maintain their facilities. They are now looking at sustainability as an integral part of their everyday operations. Very similar to how eCommerce was an upward trend a few years ago, it is now an everyday way to do business.
We have seen a new, dramatic shift from customers involving Grainger at the “end” of their purchasing process (e.g. calling upon Grainger when they decide they need a product) to including Grainger at the beginning of the decision and budgeting process. For example, customers that are looking to replace their motors with something more efficient are coming to Grainger to do a variable speed drive audit, help them identify effective solutions and then help the customer work the recommendation into their budget.
Since “green” products are repeatable purchase product categories and/or consumables– e.g. lighting, cleaning supplies- organizations are now also looking at their supply chain differently and turning to inventory management as a way to reduce costs further. Inventory management helps organizations streamline their purchasing processes, consolidate their suppliers and reduce up to 30 percent of their MRO spend.
Sustainable education increases innovative collaboration - Since this approach to sustainability fosters collaboration and interaction, we have found that some of our customers are hosting forums with industry peers and competitors to share best practices, which is quite a shift for management models. For example, a Grainger customer, who is a large Food & Beverage company, has been hosting a monthly sustainability forums with it various businesses and industry peers. This customer recently invited me to speak during one of these forums and address the 5 step coaching workshop technique and process. As we work with customers to build out their sustainability strategy, we stay engaged and coach them until they are comfortable leading their change efforts. We are usually an integral part of their green team/committee and assist with their metrics to they can effectively communicate the impacts to their business partners.
We shared examples and lessons from our pilot with more than 100 contacts and 65 companies. This led to engagement with 5 locations to share our approach, ideas and best practices with their teams for sustainability and adoption principles.
We are also exploring the idea of having a regular forum of customers and suppliers by market segment so we can share the lessons learned and assist each other with sustainability objectives and adoption. This would allow us to lead innovative change practices on a larger scale by engaging customers and suppliers closer together with each other.
Grainger sustainability landing page: www.grainger.com/greeninfo
Change Management Lessons ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We learned a lot during this process and have come to undersand how to better initiate change. Some specific lessons for inspiring change and overcoming resistance include:
Create a taskforce - To initiate change effectively and overcome resistance, it can not be done “alone.” Changes can not be made by a single leader or based on a single perspective. It is important to assemble a taskforce or group of passionate and relevant stakeholders from various levels of the organization who are challenged with assessing a specific issue and charged to drive change to address it (ex: ConAgra’s “Green Team”). When determining the right players, you want to ensure the obvious stakeholders are involved – for example, when looking to promote a sustainability-focused change, the EHS manager will be crucial for that discussion – but you also want to identify those within your organization that may have an untapped passion and unique perspective to offer.
Taskforce members will then serve as your greatest ambassadors of the change as their intimate role in the change management will lead to advocacy as they cascade information through the organization to people who view them as relatable and trustworthy peers.
Follow a process, but remain flexible – A solid change management program needs structure and organization, while still allowing for flexibility. Grainger offers its consultants a certification program on change management that provides a “Change Management Playbook” outlining five key, general steps to take to execute an effective change management process:
1) Define the change
2) Analyze impacts
3) Develop solutions
4) Implement and transition
Each step is crucial and if one is skipped, effective change management cannot fully take place. When you are changing something you are generally adding, taking something away, or a combination of the two. The change efforts guide the organization and individuals to a desired state by making people realize that the desired state is a better place to be than their current state. In many cases, we remain part of the customer’s green team so we can share best demonstrated practices, identify areas of resistance, minimize impact on productivity, and assist with adoption in their organization so we can continue progress toward our desired outcome.
However, you’ll note how general the steps are, which allows an organization to really create a unique plan that meets their very specific needs.
Facilitate, don’t dictate –It is important to facilitate, and not dictate the conversation. If change is “forced” upon an organization, your key stakeholders will be more likely to resist decisions that were made without their input and perspective (which relates back to the importance of creating a taskforce). Grainger has found great success in the facilitation philosophy because first, facilitating gives stakeholders the opportunity to become invested in the change, which supports successful adoption and second, facilitating also fosters conversation and collaboration, which can lead to identifying additional opportunities that otherwise would have been missed. Facilitation also reinforces a level of respect you have for those within your organization as you demonstrate your commitment to executing large changes in a serious and thoughtful way.
Avoid a “one-size-fits-all” model – What worked for one organizational change, will not work for another. Change management cannot be rigid and has to recognize the unique qualities of both an organization and the change itself.
When I present publically in regards to Grainger’s method for sustainability coaching, I leverage ConAgra’s sustainability plan, which is in an excel grid format and the result of them embarking on the workshop process, and customers come up to me after the presentation asking for the same format and want to mimic the model. But I won’t share it because that is the model and format that ConAgra came up with after going through the full coaching and workshop process and it will only be effective for their organization. Each customer that goes through the workshop should have a different outcome because their needs are and should be unique. What is a concise excel sheet document for ConAgra, could be a narrative piece for another company.
And to scale change to have a system-wide effect after executing a successful pilot I learned you must demonstrate:
- Relevance – To get people to change it has to mean something to them. So it is important to communicate why the change is relevant to people across the organization and how it impacts them specifically. This means that you’ll need to speak to both the heart and mind; some people within the organization will need to understand the change from an emotional and personal standpoint, while others will need to see factual information to rationalize the change.
- Influence – Change is made when people feel like they play an integral part in the success of it. You need to communicate how each person is responsible for executing the change and how the program to drive change is THEIR program, which will increase their likelihood to act and push towards the end goal.
- Incentive – To experience system-wide adoption, you need to offer your stakeholders some kind reward. You may be surprised to learn that incentive does not automatically mean a monetary investment. Incentives like verbal recognition and empowerment can foster significant motivation and lead to and spread action to change.
Sustainability Lessons -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Motivating Factors - People, Planet, Profit
Sustainability expands traditional financial measurements to consider an organization’s social and ecological performance as well. Often referred to as the “Triple Bottom Line”, the objective of a sustainable approach is to give equal consideration to environmental and social consequences as well as financial benefits when evaluating organizational strategies and tactics. Hence, the phrase “people, planet, profit” is frequently used to succinctly describe the components of sustainability.
People refers to fair and beneficial practices toward employees and the community in which an organization conducts its affairs. A sustainable organization works to ensure its employees and customers can thrive in current and future conditions. This may include ensuring fair salaries to its employees, maintaining a safe work environment with reasonable working hours, and providing benefits such as health care coverage, disability insurance and retirement savings. It also may include “giving back” to the larger community by contributing to its strength and growth with such things as charitable contributions, program leadership, volunteerism and education.
Planet refers to sustainable environmental practices. A sustainable organization seeks to benefit the surrounding ecosystem as much as possible or at minimum do no harm and curtail environmental impact. This may include reducing its environmental footprint by managing its consumption of energy and non-renewable resources, reducing waste and rendering materials less toxic before disposing of it in a safe and legal manner. In manufacturing, “cradle to grave” is a frequently used phrase to describe the consideration of a product’s life cycle to determine its true environmental total cost—from the growth and harvesting of raw materials, to its manufacture and distribution, and finally, its eventual disposal by consumers.
Profit refers to the economic value created by the organization. While it is often thought of in terms of traditional accounting (i.e., revenue less costs), within a sustainability framework it is sometimes extended to consider the total economic benefit enjoyed by the entire community. While the internal profit made by an organization is an essential starting point for measurement, under a sustainable approach consideration to the economic impact on the surrounding community is evaluated as well.
Opportunity– MRO Components
Maintaining, repairing and operating a facility provide an opportunity to improve sustainability within four areas: Energy, Water, Waste and Air. These components are interrelated, with a change to one likely impacting others. Driven by the motivators of Profit, Planet, and People, changes in any of these areas can help provide substantial benefits to an organization.
Some of the challenges sustainability professionals face in making their facilities more sustainable:
- They don’t know where to begin
- People believe it will cost more
- They find it difficult to gather best demonstrated practices for their industry
- They begin with the categories without understanding the motivating factors for why they have or need a sustainability program
Every use of energy is an opportunity for savings and to lower energy consumption, organizations are assessing their use of lighting, heating, cooling, hot water and general office equipment. In addition, organizations are increasingly concerned about energy loss that stems from numerous different sources, such as steam, water and air leaks, un-insulated lines, and incorrectly adjusted controls. Energy conservation efforts can reduce energy costs anywhere from 24% - 50%.
Organizations are evaluating water usage and implementing conservation practices to reduce operating expenses through energy savings, reduced sewer costs, reduced water costs and reduced chemical and pre-treatment costs. Water use consumption efforts can be reduced by 40%.
The EPA estimates American industrial facilities generate and dispose more than 7.6 billion tons of industrial solid waste each year. To minimize this amount, many organizations have adopted “Reduce, Reuse Recycle” practices for items such as paper, glass, metals and plastic. Recycling not only helps reduce the amount of waste produced, but also helps prevent greenhouse gas emissions and water pollutants. Waste audits help identify how much and what kind of materials moves through a facility’s waste stream and determine ways to divert waste from landfills and improve recycling practices. Execution of reduce, reuse & recycling programs can reduce waste by up to 70%.
Improve Indoor Air Quality
Many organizations are evaluating HVAC systems and filtration efficiency, and switching to green cleaning products to help decrease air and water pollution and the risk of unwanted health Effects like respiratory diseases, headaches and fatigue. Improving indoor air quality and green cleaning can reduce your carbon footprint by 24% - 50%.
Simple changes in processes and investments in better, more efficient products (money that would have been spent anyway) can help businesses maintain, repair and operate your facility at a lower incremental cost.