Structure of the workbook – Essay Furious

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Structure of the workbook
Part 1 – The workbook is structured to provide knowledge component in the first part including the introduction
to the theoretical aspects of the unit and detailed description of the unit of competency knowledge development.
Part 2-The development of your skills and knowledge which are sectioned to cover the unit elements and
performance criteria to apply your skills and knowledge to gain competency for effective vocational outcomes.
How to use the workbook
First develop your knowledge
1. Read the workbook starting with the introduction to the subject of unit of competency and the details
to develop your knowledge application.
2. Once reading is complete, attempt the review questions to ensure you develop your knowledge related
to knowledge evidence required.
Then develop your skills and apply skills and knowledge for vocational outcome
1. Actively read the workbook sections which are sectioned in line with unit elements and performance
criteria to confirm the application of skills and knowledge related to achieve effective and efficient
vocational outcome.
2. Attempt and complete all the activities in the learning activity workbook in relevant sections to
develop your competency including use of foundation skills.
© 2020 Dynamics Learning Pty Ltd. 2/23 Foster Street Surry Hills NSW 2010 Australia.
This publisher holds the copyright of its reproduction. All rights are reserved for author and the Institute that is
provided with license for use including total or partial reproduction or adaptation.

Compiled by
Review date
: 1
: Anil K Don (MBA (UK), MPA (Aus.), Dip L & M, DipM, FAIM (MCIM, Chartered Marketer – Fmr))
: November 2020

The information contained in this manual is drawn from sources believed to be valid and reliable. The writer, the firm, its
employees, agents and contractors do not warrant the correctness of the sources used and accept no responsibility to any
person or commercial body for any errors or omissions or for any loss or damage howsoever caused from the use of this
manual. Every effort has been made to ensure that this publication is free from duplication, errors or omissions. Information
used from various sources including online materials, books and journals are tested for their validity, reliability, currency, and
rephrased, adapted, quoted and referenced.
However, if unsure, users should conduct their own enquiries and seek professional advice before relying on any fact,
statement or matter contained in this book. Information in this unit is current at the time of publication. Some images,
charts and graphics appearing in this resource have been developed by the writer and some are accessed and used from
various freely available online sources.
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Table of Contents
Unit Overview………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..3
Introduction to workplace policies and procedures for sustainability……………………………………………………..4
Sustainability (What is it?)…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 4
Australian and international standards relating to corporate sustainability …………………………………………… 11
Environmental and sustainability legislation, regulations and codes of practice applicable to organisation.. 14
Environmental regulatory framework……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 15
Regulatory enforcement …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 17
Internal and external sources of information and their use in planning and developing organisational
sustainability policies and procedures ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 18
Elements required for the development of organisational sustainability policies and processes:……………… 20
Agreed outcomes of the policy and procedures……………………………………………………………………………… 29
Policy timeframes and costs ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 30
Performance indicators……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 32
Activities to be undertaken………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 37
Assigned responsibilities……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 37
Record keeping, review and improvement processes ……………………………………………………………………… 38
Ensure recordkeeping systems are performing well ……………………………………………………………………….. 40
Common sustainability issues with organisational systems and procedures ………………………………………….. 42
Typical barriers to implementing policies and procedures in an organisation and possible strategies to
address them…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 44
Skills development and application guidelines ………………………………………………………………………………….47
Section 1……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..49
Prepare workplace sustainability policies …………………………………………………………………………………………49
Establish scope and objectives of workplace sustainability policies ………………………………………………………. 49
Establish scope of sustainability policy ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 50
Gather information for development of sustainability policies …………………………………………………………….. 51
Analyse information and consultation insights…………………………………………………………………………………… 53
Develop and document sustainability policies according to organisational processes …………………………….. 56
Policy items that reflects the organisation’s commitment to sustainability……………………………………………. 59
Incorporate implementation and continuous improvement processes into sustainability policies ……………. 63
Section 2……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..70
Implement workplace sustainability policies …………………………………………………………………………………….70
Present workplace sustainability policies and implementation processes to key stakeholders…………………. 70
Identify and source resources required to implement sustainability policies …………………………………………. 72
Support implementation of workplace sustainability policies ………………………………………………………………. 73
Track continuous improvements in sustainability approaches using recording systems ………………………….. 77
Section 3……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..82
Review implementation of workplace ……………………………………………………………………………………………..82
sustainability policies…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….82
Document outcomes and provide feedback to key personnel and stakeholders…………………………………….. 83
Action to promote continuous improvement of performance ……………………………………………………………… 83
Modify sustainability policies to incorporate improvements ……………………………………………………………….. 87
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Unit Overview
Application of the unit
This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to develop and implement workplace
sustainability policies and to modify the policy to suit changed circumstances. The unit applies to
individuals with managerial responsibilities who undertake work developing approaches to create,
monitor and improve strategies and policies within workplaces. These individuals also engage with a
range of relevant stakeholders and specialists. ‘Sustainability’ in this unit refers to a broad approach
that focuses on the minimisation of an organisation’s social, economic and environmental impact, as
well as proactive value creation in these areas.
Performance Evidence
The candidate must demonstrate the ability to complete the tasks outlined in the elements,
performance criteria and foundation skills of this unit, including evidence of the ability to develop
and implement workplace policies and procedures for sustainability including:
• implementing sustainability policy and procedures into wider organisational policies and
• consulting and communicating with relevant stakeholders to generate engagement with
sustainability policy development, implementation and continuous improvement.
Knowledge Evidence
The candidate must be able to demonstrate knowledge to complete the tasks outlined in the
elements, performance criteria and foundation skills of this unit, including knowledge of:
• Australian and international standards relating to corporate sustainability
• environmental and sustainability legislation, regulations and codes of practice applicable to
• internal and external sources of information and their use in planning and developing
organisational sustainability policies and procedures
• elements required for the development of organisational sustainability policies and
processes including:
o agreed outcomes of the policy and procedures
o policy timeframes and costs
o performance indicators
o activities to be undertaken
o assigned responsibilities
o record keeping, review and improvement processes
o common sustainability issues with organisational systems and procedures
• typical barriers to implementing policies and procedures in an organisation and possible
strategies to address them.
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Workplace policies and procedures for sustainability
Sustainability (What is it?)
There is no universally agreed definition of sustainability. In fact, there are many different
viewpoints on this concept and on how it can be achieved. Etymologically, the word sustainability
comes from sustainable + ity. And sustainable is, for instance, a composition of sustain + able. So, if
we start from the beginning, to <sustain> means “give support to”, “to hold up”, “to bear” or to
“keep up”.
What is sustainability, then? Sustainable is an adjective for something that is able to be sustained,
i.e., something that is “bearable” and “capable of being continued at a certain level”. In the end,
sustainability can perhaps be seen as the process(es) by which something is kept at a certain level.
Nonetheless, nowadays, because of the environmental and social problems society is facing,
sustainability is commonly used in a specific way. Therefore, sustainability can be defined as the
processes and actions through which humankind avoids the depletion of natural resources (which is
influenced by the way societies are organized) to keep an ecological balance so that society’s quality
of life doesn’t decrease.
In this way, we can say that resources exploitation, manufacturing operations, the direction of
investments, technological developments, wealth distribution, institutional changes, among others,
are being sustainable if they do not hurt the ecosystem services and if they allow for society’s quality
of life not to decrease.
Principles of sustainability: The 3 pillars of sustainability
What is sustainability? The principles of sustainability are the foundations of what this concept
represents. Therefore, sustainability is made up of three pillars: economy, society, and the
environment. These principles are also informally used as profit, people and planet.
John Elkington, author of Cannibals with forks and co-founder of the sustainability consultancy
firm Sustain-abilty, was one of the first people to integrate these 3 principles. He argued companies
needed to start considering this triple bottom line so that they could the world thrive in the long run
(more info about the triple bottom line in our article: sustainable development).
At the same time, consumers and citizens unsatisfied with the long-term damage (both on wealth
distribution and the environment) caused by the corporate focus on short-term profits, turned
sustainability into a mainstream concept able to ruin a organisation’s reputation and profits. Today,
sustainability is often spoken of about climate change, which threatens life as we know it as is being
largely caused by industrial practices. That’s one of the reasons why today many organisations
have corporate responsibility (CSR) strategies.
In 2005, the World Summit on Social Development identified three core areas that contribute to the
philosophy and social science of sustainable development. These “pillars” in many national
standards and certification schemes, form the backbone of tackling the core areas that the world
now faces. The Brundtland Commission described it as “development that meets the needs of the
present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” We must
consider the future then, in making our decisions about the present.
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Economic Development
This is the issue that proves the most problematic as most people disagree on political ideology what
is and is not economically sound, and how it will affect organisations and by extension, jobs and
employability. It is also about providing incentives for organisations and other organisations to
adhere to sustainability guidelines beyond their normal legislative requirements. Also, to encourage
and foster incentives for the average person to do their bit where and when they can; one person
can rarely achieve much, but taken as a group, effects in some areas are cumulative. The supply and
demand market is consumerist in nature and modern life requires a lot of resources every single day;
for the sake of the environment, getting what we consume under control is the paramount issue.
Economic development is about giving people what they want without compromising quality of life,
especially in the developing world, and reducing the financial burden and “red tape” of doing the
right thing.
Social Development
There are many facets to this pillar. Most importantly is awareness of and legislation protection of
the health of people from pollution and other harmful activities of organisation and other
organisations. In North America, Europe and the rest of the developed world, there are strong
checks and programmes of legislation in place to ensure that people’s health and wellness is strongly
protected. It is also about maintaining access to basic resources without compromising the quality of
life. The biggest hot topic for many people right now is sustainable housing and how we can better
build the homes we live in from sustainable material. The final element is education – encouraging
people to participate in environmental sustainability and teaching them about the effects of
environmental protection as well as warning of the dangers if we cannot achieve our goals.
Environmental Protection
We all know what we need to do to protect the environment, whether that is recycling, reducing our
power consumption by switching electronic devices off rather than using standby, by walking short
journeys instead of taking the bus. Organisations are regulated to prevent pollution and to keep
their own carbon emissions low. There are incentives to installing renewable power sources in our
homes and organisations. Environmental protection is the third pillar and to many, the primary
concern of the future of humanity. It defines how we should study and protect ecosystems, air
quality, integrity and sustainability of our resources and focusing on the elements that place stress
on the environment (6). It also concerns how technology will drive our greener future; the EPA
recognized that developing technology and biotechnology is key to this sustainability and protecting
the environment of the future from potential damage that technological advances could potentially
History of Sustainability
Humans have, since the Neolithic Agricultural Revolution and maybe even before then, been a
consumer rather than a replenisher of environmental resources. From hunter-gatherer societies that
moved into an area to use up its resources in a season before setting up camp or moving on, only to
return the following year to do the same, the development of a surplus economy saw permanent
settlements. Slash and burn farming replaced natural wilderness often with uniform crop
plantation and camps gave way to settlements, then eventually villages, towns and cities which
would put pressure on the environment.
Sometimes, the environmental pressures forced people into making these changes in the first place
(growing human population being one of those pressures) and often eventually they had to move on
to somewhere new where the environmental could better sustain them and their practices, or make
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further changes to their existing environment. There was no real concept of sustainable living, even
if the people of the distant past understood that soil had a maximum fertility that could be
exhausted and replenished with livestock.
It is widely acknowledged that many societies collapsed due to an inability to adapt to the conditions
brought on by these unsustainable practices. Whether that was introducing alien species that upset
the balance of the ecosystem, cutting down too many trees at once or even a failure to adapt to
natural fluctuations in the climate, we are far more aware in the modern world about the potential
damage caused by human action. Cultural change often led to survival of those societies beyond
what might have been expected under the circumstances.
Though some Renaissance and Enlightenment philosophers would express concern about resources
and over-population and whether these were sustainable in the long term, these people were not
taken seriously at the time other than as a hypothetical question. It would take until the
20th century before we would understand the impact that we could have on our environment.
Environmental damage, pollution, destabilising soils by cutting down trees, fossil fuels and other
environmental issues led to a growing concern about the environment and whether we were or
could damage our own ecosystem. The United Nations was founded after World War II and in 1945,
UNESCO was established to promote the importance of human culture and of science. Today, their
remit is “to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development
and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and
By the late 20th century, the science of climate change was firmly established. We knew by the
1980s about the problems of the greenhouse effect and the destruction of the ozone layer and
coming very late in the century, an awareness of the notion that some of our resources – particularly
fossil fuels – were finite and that we should make efforts to move to renewable methods of power. It
was then that we saw the social, economic and scientific birth of the environmental movement.
A Sustainable Future
It is not yet clear what our sustainable future will look like but with emerging technologies and the
improvement of older cleaner fuel sources, many people now look to a post fossil fuel world –
including organisations. Since the 1950s, we have experienced unprecedented growth including
intensive farming, a technological revolution and a massive increase in our power needs putting
even greater pressure and strain on the planet’s resources. We are also far more aware of the plight
of the developing world and that facing our planet as we now observe both natural and humancaused disasters and the effects that these can have on the ecosystems and on human population.
It’s vital that we develop new, cleaner technologies to cope with our energy demands but
sustainability is not just about the environment.
The biggest social activism movement related to the social development side of sustainability, has
been programs such as Fair Trade and the Rainforest Alliance in encouraging good farming practices
while ensuring farmers who produce luxury goods such as coffee and cocoa receive a decent living
wage. Activist and sustainability professionals hope to remove trade barriers in future so that they
may benefit everyone, contributing to the economic and social development core of sustainability
while promoting good environmental practice.
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Examples of sustainability: A long-term vision
Sustainability encourages people, politics, and organisations to make decisions based on the long
term. In this way, acting sustainably encompasses a temporal framework of decades (instead of a
few months or years) and considers more than the profit or loss involved. The followings are some
different examples of sustainability depending on the industry:
Technology: Examples of what is sustainability in technology
The use of electronic devices is growing every day. Nonetheless, these devices are made of Earth
minerals extracted by the mining industry. Mining can be a very polluting industry and the
development of new sites certainly has an impact on deforestation.
Therefore, being sustainable in the tech field has a lot to do with using your devices for a long period
despite having new ones coming out all the time. It is also about making sure you get disposed of
them in a responsible way as can be very polluting if not handled properly.
Soon, sustainability in technology will also be about how the (mostly) lithium-ion batteries of electric
cars and solar panels will be disposed of. Companies focusing on recycling these batteries and
building products whose core car be maintained and replaced for a new battery will also be the ones
on the forefront.
Workplace: Examples of what sustainability in the workplace
The workplace can also be organized in a sustainable way. For instance, companies betting on new
technologies and becoming paperless or that provide conditions and training for employees to
recycle are being careful about waste management.
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At the same time, not asking air-conditioners for very extreme temperatures (that waste much
energy waste and emit GHG), opening the blinds when there’s sunlight and avoiding plastic cutlery
are also good ways to have a sustainable workplace.
Operations and value-chain: where’s the sustainability?
Let’s analyse sustainability in operations by imagining an organisation with very high energy costs as
they are steel manufacturers. If it is economically viable, the organisation could install solar panels
and power its operations with this energy. It’d be a medium-long term investment that could be
economically interesting in the long run.
At the same time, the organisation would be using renewable energy, which is especially important
in places where the electricity grid works mostly on fossil fuels.
An organisation’s strategy (CSR): Where is its sustainability?
An organisation’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a strategy that integrates the policies and
practices firms wanting to create value on their triple bottom line (people, planet, profit). So besides
taking care of their workplaces and trying to be eco-friendly along their value-chain, companies with
a sustainability mindset are also concerned about social issues like gender equality, happiness at the
workplace or taking care of the communities affected by their activities.
At the same time, they do not underestimate the financial side of the organisation, where profit is a
basic condition for organizations to survive – yet, it’s not the main reason or the main purpose why
these organisations exist.
Fashion: Examples of sustainability in fashion
Fashion, especially fast fashion, focuses on speed and low cost to deliver frequent new collections.
Nonetheless, the problem with this industry its negative environmental impact. On one hand, it uses
toxic chemicals that cause water pollution which may contaminate the soils too if wrongly disposed
On the other hand, there’s a lot of textile waste and many clothes are made of synthetic fibres
which, while being washed, escape to the sea in the shape of microplastics. In this way, if a
organisation makes clothes with resistant materials, uses sustainably produced cotton, applies
principles of circular economy in its value chain and uses less toxic chemicals, it is responsible with
the environment.
At the same time, sustainability is also about being socially responsible. And overall, the fashion
industry isn’t a very responsible one. If you pay attention most labels show that clothes are being
made in distant places such as China, Bangladesh or Vietnam.
Apart from the pollution of transporting these items, the manpower behind the manufacturing of
these clothes is what’s most worrying. People in these countries usually get really low wages and
work under bad conditions. They can hardly improve their social situation and most times keep on
working just to pay the bills and survive. This largely contributes to the inequality we see in the
world since in 2018 the rich went richer and the poor poorer, according to Oxfam’s latest report.
Transportation: What is sustainability in transportation?
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A report from the IPPC says 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from transport and most are
mostly due to passenger cars. Yes, contrary to what many believe, planes, cargo ships or even trucks
aren’t the main contributors to CO2 emissions and are cars can assume much of the blame. So,
unless someone is driving a car with 4 or 5 passengers, taking public transportation, especially trains
but also buses are more sustainable choices. And if one can simply walk or cycle it’d be even better.
Today, there are even more sophisticated solutions to reduce the pollution caused by moving
around. At a vehicle level, the popularity and industry development of alternatives like electric cars
(or even hydrogen cars) or electric scooters are growing at a high rate. At the same time, solutions
like carpooling, where through which drivers can get their cars empty and save some money (and
pollution) are great alternatives. Not to mention the fact that more companies are letting their
employees working from home or remotely, allowing to save the number of kms travelled too!
Zero Waste – As an example of sustainability
The zero-waste movement is a lifestyle that encourages people to use all types of resources in
a circular way, just like the natural world does. Therefore, the goal of this philosophy is to avoid
resources to follow a linear route and end up as trash in the oceans or landfills. For this, people must
refuse what they do not need, reduce what they are getting, reuse it and recycle or compost it.
Linked with this lifestyle is also a minimalist way of living, where people are often invited to leave
behind and refuse that they do not need. The movement is also very well known by people taking
their own bulks to shops to buy commodities such as chickpeas, rice or liquid soap. The goal is clear:
not to take any trash home. A factory that takes proper care of its industrial waste and doesn’t drop
it in a nearby river or land is acting in a sustainable way. In fact, this factory is being responsible for
avoiding the short-term costs of damaging disposal that could have expensive and impactful longterm environmental damage.
At the same time, companies looking for less polluting packaging alternatives are also good
sustainability models to follow. Since plastics are polluting land and seas and harming ecosystems
and biodiversity, it’s a good idea that organisations invest in new designs that allow products to be
more resistant and even re-manufactured. On top of this, if biodegradable materials are being used,
even better.
The food industry: Examples of sustainability in this area
An organisation that tries to grow its crops by not using (or using few) toxic pesticides and focuses
on organic farming and biomimicry practices is certainly a less polluting one. If it pays fair wages to
its employees and manages to still be competitive on the market, it is then being responsible when it
comes to profit, people and planet.
The three pillars of sustainability
The term sustainability is broadly used to indicate programs, initiatives and actions aimed at the
preservation of a particular resource. However, it actually refers to four distinct areas: human,
social, economic and environmental – known as the four pillars of sustainability.
1. Social sustainability
Social sustainability aims to preserve social capital by investing and creating services that
constitute the framework of our society. The concept accommodates a larger view of the
world in relation to communities, cultures and globalisation. It means to preserve future
generations and to acknowledge that what we do can have an impact on others and on the
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world. Social sustainability focuses on maintaining and improving social quality with
concepts such as cohesion, reciprocity and honesty and the importance of relationships
amongst people. It can be encouraged and supported by laws, information and shared ideas
of equality and rights. Social sustainability incorporates the idea of sustainable development
as defined by the United Nations sustainable development goals. The principle of
sustainable development addresses social and economic improvement that protects the
environment and supports equality, and therefore the economy and society and the
ecological system are mutually dependent.
2. Economic sustainability
Economic sustainability aims to maintain the capital intact. If social sustainability focuses on
improving social equality, economic sustainability aims to improve the standard of living. In
the context of business, it refers to the efficient use of assets to maintain company
profitability over time. As stated by the UK Government (Annual Report 2000, January 2001):
“Maintaining high and stable levels of economic growth is one of the key objectives of
sustainable development. Abandoning economic growth is not an option. But sustainable
development is more than just economic growth. The quality of growth matters as well as
the quantity.”
Critics of this model acknowledge that a great gap in modern accounting practices is not to
include the cost of damage to the earth in market prices (Hawking, 2010). A more recent
approach to economics acknowledges the limited incorporation of the ecological and social
components in this model. New economics is inclusive of natural capital (ecological systems)
and social capital (relationships amongst people) and challenges the mantra of capital that
continual growth is good and bigger is better, if it risks causing harm to the ecological and
human system (Benn et al., 2014).
3. Environmental sustainability
Environmental sustainability aims to improve human welfare through the protection of
natural capital (e.g. land, air, water, minerals etc.). Initiatives and programs are defined
environmentally sustainable when they ensure that the needs of the population are met
without the risk of compromising the needs of future generations. Environmental
sustainability, places emphasis on how business can achieve positive economic outcomes
without doing any harm, in the short- or long-term, to the environment. According to
Dunphy et al. (2000) an environmentally sustainable business seeks to integrate all four
sustainability pillars, and to reach this aim each one needs to be treated equally.
The principle of the four pillars of sustainability states that for complete sustainability
problems to be solved in relation to all four pillars of sustainability and then need be
maintained. Although in some cases these may overlap, it is important to identify the
specific type of green business to focus on, as the four types present unique characteristics.
Businesses need to make a strategic decision about it so as to effectively incorporate the
chosen approach into their policies and procedures.
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Australian and international standards relating to corporate
What is corporate sustainability?
Corporate sustainability can be viewed as a new and evolving corporate management paradigm. The
term ‘paradigm’ is used deliberately, in that corporate sustainability is an alternative to the
traditional growth and profit-maximization model. While corporate sustainability recognizes that
corporate growth and profitability are important, it also requires the corporation to pursue societal
goals, specifically those relating to sustainable development — environmental protection, social
justice and equity, and economic development.
A review of the literature suggests that the concept of corporate sustainability borrows elements
from four more established concepts:
1) sustainable development,
2) corporate social responsibility,
3) stakeholder theory, and
4) corporate accountability theory.
Sustainable development
Sustainable development is a broad, dialectical concept that balances the need for economic growth
with environmental protection and social equity. The term was first popularized in 1987, in Our
Common Future, a book published by the World Commission for Environment and Development
(WCED). The WCED described sustainable development as development that met the needs of
present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Or,
as described in the book, it is “a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the
direction of investments, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are
all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and
aspirations.” Sustainable development is a broad concept in that it combines economics, social
justice, environmental science and management, business management, politics and law. It is a
dialectical concept in that, like justice, democracy, fairness, and other important societal concepts, it
defies a concise analytical definition, although one can often point to examples that illustrate its
Corporate social responsibility
Like sustainable development, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is also a broad, dialectical
concept. In the most general terms, CSR deals with the role of business in society. Its basic premise is
that corporate managers have an ethical obligation to consider and address the needs of society, not
just to act solely in the interests of the shareholders or their own self-interest. In many ways CSR can
be considered a debate, and what is usually in question is not whether corporate managers have an
obligation to consider the needs of society, but the extent to which they should consider these
Stakeholder theory
Stakeholder theory, which is short for stakeholder theory of the firm, is a relatively modern concept.
It was first popularized by R. Edward Freeman in his 1984 book Strategic Management: A
Stakeholder Approach (Pitman Books, Boston, Mass, 1984). Freeman defined a stakeholder as “any
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group or individual who can affect or is affected by the achievement of the organization’s
objectives.” The basic premise of stakeholder theory is that the stronger your relationships are with
other external parties, the easier it will be to meet your corporate business objectives; the worse
your relationships, the harder it will be. Strong relationships with stakeholders are those based on
trust, respect, and cooperation. Unlike CSR, which is largely a philosophical concept, stakeholder
theory was originally, and is still primarily, a strategic management concept. The goal of stakeholder
theory is to help corporations strengthen relationships with external groups in order to develop a
competitive advantage.
One of the first challenges for companies is to identify their stakeholders. There appears to be
general agreement among companies that certain groups are stakeholders — shareholders and
investors, employees, customers, and suppliers. Beyond these, however, it becomes more
challenging because there are no clear criteria for defining stakeholders. Most authors agree that if
the term ‘stakeholder’ is to be meaningful, there must be some way of separating stakeholders from
non-stakeholders. Some authors have suggested that stakeholders are those that have a stake in the
company’s activities – something at risk. Other authors have suggested that if you consider the
global impacts of industry – such as climate change or cultural changes due to marketing and
advertising – everyone is a stakeholder. The issue of qualifying criteria for stakeholder status is
currently being debated.
Assuming that the main stakeholders have been identified, the next challenge for corporate
managers is to develop strategies for dealing with them. This is a challenge because different
stakeholder groups can, and often do, have different goals, priorities, and demands. Shareholders
and investors want optimum return on their investments; employees want safe workplaces,
competitive salaries and job security; customers want quality goods and services at fair prices; local
communities want community investment; regulators want full compliance with applicable
regulations. However, there is a general acknowledgement that the goals of economic stability,
environmental protection, and social justice are common across many stakeholder groups. Few
groups would argue against these goals, although they may debate the level of priority or urgency.
The contribution of stakeholder theory to the corporate sustainability is the addition of business
arguments as to why companies should work toward sustainable development. Stakeholder theory
suggests that it is in the company’s own best economic interest to work in this direction because
doing so will strengthen its relationship with stakeholders, which in turn will help the company meet
its business objectives.
Corporate Accountability
The fourth and final concept underlying corporate sustainability is corporate accountability.
Accountability is the legal or ethical responsibility to provide an account or reckoning of the actions
for which one is held responsible. Accountability differs from responsibility in that the latter refers to
one’s duty to act in a certain way, whereas accountability refers to one’s duty to explain, justify, or
report on his or her actions.
In the corporate world, there are many different accountability relationships, but the relevant one in
the context of this paper is the relationship between corporate management and shareholders. This
relationship is based on the fiduciary model, which in turn is based on agency theory and agency
law, wherein corporate management is the ‘agent’ and the shareholders the ‘principal’. This
relationship can be viewed as a contract in which the principal entrusts the agent with capital and
the agent is responsible for using that capital in the principal’s best interest. The agent is also held
accountable by the principal for how that capital is used and the return on the investment.
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Corporate accountability need not be restricted to the traditional fiduciary model, nor only to the
relationship between corporate management and shareholders. Companies enter into contracts
(both explicit and implicit) with other stakeholder groups as a matter of everyday business, and
these contractual arrangements can serve as the basis for accountability relationships. For example,
companies that receive environmental permits and approvals from regulators to operate facilities
are often held accountable by the regulators for whether the terms of the approval are being met.
Proponents of social contract theory often argue that corporations are given a ‘licence to operate’
by society in exchange for good behaviour, and as such the corporations should be accountable to
society for their performance. The contribution of corporate accountability theory to corporate
sustainability is that it helps define the nature of the relationship between corporate managers and
the rest of society. It also sets out the arguments as to why companies should report on their
environmental, social, and economic performance, not just financial performance. In 1997, John
Elkington of the UK consultancy, Sustain Ability, called this type of accounting on environmental,
social, and economic performance as ‘triple bottom line’ reporting.
Corporate sustainability is a new and evolving corporate management paradigm. Although the
concept acknowledges the need for profitability, it differs from the traditional growth and profitmaximization model in that it places a much greater emphasis on environmental, social, and
economic performance, and the public reporting on this performance. Corporate sustainability
borrows elements from four other concepts. Sustainable development sets out the performance
areas that companies should focus on, and also contributes the vision and societal goals that the
corporation should work toward, namely environmental protection, social justice and equity, and
economic development. Corporate social responsibility contributes ethical arguments and
stakeholder theory provides business arguments as to why corporations should work towards these
goals. Corporate accountability provides the rationale as to why companies should report to society
on their performance in these areas.
Not all companies currently subscribe to the principles of corporate sustainability, and it is unlikely
that all will, at least not voluntarily. However, a significant number of companies have made public
commitments to environmental protection, social justice and equity, and economic development.
Their number continues to grow. This trend will be reinforced if shareholders and other stakeholders
support and reward companies that conduct their operations in the spirit of sustainability.
Corporate sustainability examples
Sustainability is becoming more important for all companies, across all industries. 62% of executives
consider a sustainability strategy necessary to be competitive today, and another 22% think it will be
in the future. Sustainability is a corporate approach to creating long-term value by taking into
consideration how a given organization operates in the ecological, social and economic
environment. Sustainability is built on the assumption that developing such strategies foster
company longevity. As the expectations on corporate responsibility increase, and as transparency
becomes more prevalent, companies are recognizing the need to act on sustainability. Professional
communications and good intentions are no longer enough.
The following industry leaders illustrate what sustainability initiatives look like:
1) Nike and Adidas have both stepped up seriously. Nike has focused on reducing waste and
minimizing its footprint, whereas Adidas has created a greener supply chain and targeted
specific issues like dyeing and eliminating plastic bags.
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2) Unilever and Nestlé have both taken on major commitments; Unilever notably on organic
palm oil and its overall waste and resource footprint, and Nestlé in areas such as product life
cycle, climate, water efficiency and waste.
3) Walmart, IKEA and H&M have moved toward more sustainable retailing, largely by leading
collaboration across their supply chains to reduce waste, increase resource productivity and
optimize material usage. It also has taken steps to address local labour conditions with
suppliers from emerging markets.
4) Pepsi and Coca-Cola have both developed ambitious agendas, such as increasing focus on
water stewardship and setting targets on water replenishment.
5) In biopharma, Biogen and Novo Nordisk have both worked toward energy efficiency, waste
reduction, and other ecological measures. They have also focused on social impact via
partner initiatives in the areas of health and safety.
6) In financial services we see how banks like ANZ and Westpac in Australia both advance local
communities with good sustainability practices and by embedding sustainability in their
business processes and culture.
7) Car manufacturers like BMW and Toyota have made strides on energy efficiency and
pollution reduction, not to mention Tesla as an outsider really challenging the industry’s
overall footprint.
8) These firms have all made strong commitments to sustainability, in large part through
transparency and addressing material issues. They are embarking on a more sustainable
journey, and all firms should follow suit over the next decade.
Environmental and sustainability legislation, regulations and
codes of practice applicable to organisation
The following dot points are a summary of Australian environmental legislation. Please refer to the
detailed information in the sections below for the specific details regarding the jurisdiction you will
be working in.
• Most states and territories mandate a ‘general environmental duty’ to take reasonable care
to not cause harm to the environment. The general environmental duty is supported by
detailed offences for tiered levels of harm caused by specific levels of intent or neglect.
• Most offences are defensible if: o you can prove you took all reasonable care to not cause
the harm, which may include following standards, regulations or conditions of an approval;
or o you caused the environmental harm to prevent harm to life, property or the
environment in an emergency situation.
• Generally, permits, approvals or ‘environmental authorisations’ are only required for
prescribed activities or development projects. Prescribed activities are generally substantial
in volume (for example, extracting hundreds of tons of material or processing thousands of
tons of a substance) or involve the use of well-known pollutants. We generally do not
undertake these activities at this scale, if at all.
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• In the event of an incident that could cause or has caused environmental harm, most states
and territories require you to make a report to the relevant authority via a 24-hour hotline
or web portal. As well as reporting to the relevant authority, you should also report the
incident to your Chief via your normal field work reporting process.
• Protected areas are subject to more stringent protection than is provided by general
environmental protection legislation. Generally, you must get approval or a permit to
conduct scientific activity in protected areas and work within the criteria, values or
management plan of the protected area.
Environmental regulatory framework
There is a large number of legislative instruments and regulatory bodies that govern environmental
regulation in Australia.
Australia has a federal legal system with environmental matters primarily regulated at a state and
territory level. The regime varies between each state and territory. The Commonwealth government
(being the highest level of government in Australia) also regulates specific matters on a national level
in addition to regulation by the relevant state or territory government.
• Recent developments in Australia include an increasing focus on:
• Reducing the duplication of assessment and approval processes between the different levels
of government.
• Energy and climate change policy.
State and territory legislation
The key environmental legislation for each state and territory are as follows:
• Australian Capital Territory. The Environmental Protection Act 1997 (Australian Capital
• Northern Territory. The Waste Management and Pollution Control Act 1998 (Northern
Territory) and Environmental Assessment Act 1982 (Northern Territory).
• New South Wales. The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (New South
• Queensland. The Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Queensland).
• South Australia. The Environment Protection Act 1993 (South Australia).
• Tasmania. The Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (Tasmania).
• Victoria. The Environment Protection Act 1970 (Victoria).
• Western Australia. The Environmental Protection Act 1986 (Western Australia) (Western
Australian EP Act).
Commonwealth legislation
Environmental regulation at the Commonwealth level (that is, national/federal level) is limited to
matters of national environmental significance and those involving the Commonwealth or
Commonwealth bodies. The Commonwealth’s primary environmental legislation is the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth) (EPBC Act) administered by the
Department of the Environment and Energy (DOEE).
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If you operate a business, it is likely you will also produce waste. Waste can come in many forms and
have negative impacts on the environment and human health.
EPA provides advice and guidance to:
• improve your environmental performance
• increase your productivity
• reduce production costs.
EPA’s advice (publication 1255) is
focused on:
• conducting a waste assessment
• improving purchasing to reduce waste
• improving storage and inventory management
• conserving energy
• conserving water
• preserving waterways
• keeping waste out of drains
• reducing waste outputs
• reducing risk by improving waste management practices
• improving recording and reporting within your business
• updating systems to improve operations and support staff
• reducing odour and air emissions.
Waste assessments can help you identify and mange waste responsibly and efficiently.
Improved purchasing practices can reduce the resources you use. Improved storage can make your
site safer. It can minimise risks to health and the environment. Conserving energy and water can
help to reduce your costs and minimise emissions. Improved record keeping and reporting can help
you keep track of waste, emissions and costs. This can help you assess your performance and make
positive changes.
Sanctions and penalties
All jurisdictions in Australia consider a breach of environmental law a serious incident with
significant consequences, including criminal sanctions in some circumstances.
Legislative and policy authority
This section outlines government legislation and policies that are relevant to energy use, greenhouse
gas emissions and ozone depleting substances. These are:
• Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth)
• Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure (BEED) Act 2010 (Cth)
• Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Amendment Act 2010 (Cth)
• Energy Efficiency in Government Operations (EEGO) Policy (2006)
• Australian Government ICT Sustainability Plan (ICTSP) 2010-2015
• Australian Government Data Centre Strategy 2010-2025 and Data Centre Optimisation Policy
The key environmental regulatory authorities for each state and territory are as follows:
• Australian Capital Territory. The Environment Protection Authority.
• Northern Territory. The Environment Protection Authority.
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• New South Wales. The Environment Protection Authority.
• Queensland. The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
• South Australia. The Environment Protection Authority.
• Tasmania. The Environment Protection Authority.
• Victoria. The Environment Protection Authority.
• Western Australia. The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and the Department of
Water and Environment Regulation (DWER).
Regulatory enforcement
To what extent are environmental requirements enforced by regulators?
While each jurisdiction varies, the relevant regulators all have significant enforcement powers,
• Instituting criminal and/or civil proceedings.
• Issuing notices and orders.
• Suspending or cancelling licences or amending licence conditions.
In all jurisdictions the directors and managers of a organisation, unless they can establish one of the
available defences, can also be guilty of an offence if the organisation is found guilty. Some
jurisdictions also impose liability on licensees or occupiers for breach by a contractor.
Broadly, penalties under state legislation are divided into three categories, depending on the
severity of the offence, and there are “follow on” penalties such as the amendment or cancellation
of licences, and daily penalties for each day an offence continues unremedied:
• Tier 1 offences. The most serious offences involving penalties in the order of:
o A$1 million for corporations; and
o A$500,000 and/or up to five years imprisonment for individuals.
• Tier 2 offences. These offences are strict liability offences resulting in penalties in the order
o A$250,000 for corporations;
o A$125,000 for individuals.
• Tier 3 offences. Generally, minor offences involving penalties in the order or A$5,000 for
both individuals and corporations. In addition to monetary penalties, courts generally have
powers to make the following orders:
o action to remedy, mitigate or prevent further environmental harm;
o restorative action;
o action to publicise the contravention.
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Internal and external sources of information and their use in
planning and developing organisational sustainability policies
and procedures
Internal and external sources of information and how they can be used to plan and develop the
organisation’s sustainability policy
Important internal sources include:
• Organisational policies and procedures manuals
• Information you glean from your own organisation resource usage levels
• sustainability reports available in-house,
• salesman’s daily reports, performance data,
• internal stakeholders (employees, supervisors and managers) and conversations,
• company meetings, and
• the company sustainability initiatives and report.
Important external information sources include:
• Environmental legislation, regulations and standards
• Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines in each state and territories
• Education institutional research papers and published journals
• range of media coverage related to environmental concerns
• professional/industry associations,
• World’s best practice reports related to sustainability
• ISO standards,
• faith-based institutions,
• supply-chain partners,
• Published reports by World Bank, World Economic Forum, Economist Intelligence Unit, CIA,
• government statistics, gazettes, and/or survey findings, e.g. economic and monetary
outlook, investors’ attitudes, organisation and consumer confidence, consumer price index,
• Published market/industry reports by third parties (thinktanks, management consultants,
market researchers, organisation or trade associations, foreign embassies, etc.);
• dialogues with dealers and customers,
• myriad email exchanges,
• newspaper headlines, articles and publications
• TV News, documentaries related to environment
• remarks made by knowledge experts or organisation folks on television or radio broadcasts,
• networking contacts
• Internet sources (through search engines).
Those who think sustainability is important to their organization’s long-term success were interested
in learning more about sustainability. Awareness of the organization’s sustainability initiatives is
related to the belief sustainability is important to the organization’s success.
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Elements required for the development of organisational
sustainability policies and processes
A workplace policy is a statement which outlines an organisation’s practices and procedures
concerning part of its business, which can cover everything from day-to-day operational matters to
compliance with employment legislation.
Policies and procedures in the workplace play an important role in expressing an organisation’s
values and establishing a positive and productive organisational culture. A well-written and clearly
communicated policy helps set clear expectations around employee behaviour and workplace
procedures, which means everyone can get on with business.
Workplace policies also safeguard an organisation from risk. A well-written policy will “protect your
business from a range of situations, whether it’s sustainability, social media, inappropriate computer
use, discrimination or harassment.”
Development of policies and processes
When creating a policy or procedure for your workplace, start by reviewing the mission statement,
vision and values. A workplace policy should:
• set out the aim of the policy
• explain why the policy was developed
• list who the policy applies to
• set out what is acceptable or unacceptable behaviour
• set out the consequences of not complying with the policy
• provide a date when the policy was developed or updated”
When writing policies, it advises ensuring that a policy has the support of management and, where
appropriate, consulting with staff in its development and implementation to help encourage buy-in
and compliance.
A workplace policy should state its purpose and define key terms to avoid any ambiguity if a breach
is made. The document should use clear, easy-to-understand language that is free from jargon.
The policy should make clear who it applies to, what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. Also
included should be consequences of non-compliance. It should additionally include a mechanism for
reporting issues, and comply with the National Employment Standards and other relevant
employment legislation.
It’s not enough to write a workplace policy and file it under ‘done’. A workplace policy requires
proper implementation to be effective, which means making sure staff are aware of the policy and
its implications. Training in workplace policies should be a mandatory part of the on-boarding
process, and copies of the policies should be stored in easy-to-find locations.
The simple five-step policy checklist for employers:
1. Clearly explain the conduct expected of employees, and the consequences of breaching
2. Ensure all employees have easy access to your workplace policies.
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3. Regularly audit workplace policies to keep them up to date with relevant laws and other
protocol in your company.
4. As part of your onboarding program, ensure all new hires review their awareness and
understanding of your workplace policies.
5. Where appropriate, conduct regular training on appropriate workplace behaviour.
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Stages in policy development
The following steps summarise the key stages involved in developing policies:
1. Identify need
Policies can be developed in anticipation of need and;
• In response to need (e.g. a policy position on resource usage and the requirements of
sustainability to reduce the impact on environment).
• The organisation needs to constantly assess its activities, responsibilities and the external
environment in order to identify the need for policies and procedures.
2. Identify who will take lead responsibility
Appoint a person or person(s) to co-ordinate the policy development process. Delegate
responsibility to an individual, working group, sub-committee or staff members, according to the
expertise required. (More on the management committee’s role in policy development).
3. Establish the policy development process
The process requires research, consultation and policy writing tasks. The co-ordinator should
develop a plan of what tasks need to be done, by whom and when.
4. Conduct research
• Read policy documents created by other organisations on the same topic
• Research legislation on the Internet
• Conduct a meeting with staff and other people with experience
• Survey participants or a particular group of participants such as coaches
• Read minutes of management committee meetings (if allowed)
• Read other documents such as annual reports or event reports
• Read industry magazines and journals
• Seek legal advice
5. Gather information
Do you have any legal responsibilities in this area? Is your understanding accurate and up to
date? Have other organisations tackled the same issue? Are there existing templates or examples
that you could draw on? Where will you go for guidance?
6. Prepare a discussion paper
The purpose of the discussion paper is to explain the nature of the problem or issue, to summarise
information yielded by research and to suggest a number of policy options. The discussion paper will
be an important tool in the process of consultation.
7. Consult with appropriate stakeholders – Stage 1
Circulating the discussion paper to all stakeholders (interested parties) is a first step in the
consultation process. It may also be necessary to telephone stakeholders and send notices to remind
stakeholders to read the discussion paper. It is then important to gain as much feedback from
stakeholders as possible. This may be affected through workshops, open meetings, your web site
and by meetings with individuals. Several months may be required to ensure that this stage of
consultation is thorough. Policies are most effective if those affected are consulted are supportive
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and have the opportunity to consider and discuss the potential implications of the
policy. Depending on whether you are developing policies to govern the internal working of the
organisation or external policy positions, you may wish to consult, for example:
• Supporters;
• Staff and volunteers;
• Management Committee members; and
• Service users or beneficiaries.
8. Draft policy
Ensure that the wording and length or complexity of the policy are appropriate to those who will be
expected to implement it.
9. Consultation – Stage 2
When the draft policy is completed it should be circulated to key stakeholders, published in the
organisation’s newsletter and web site, discussed in further meetings and forums. At this stage it is
necessary to seek help from stakeholders to fine tune the wording, clarify meaning and make
adjustments to the policy before it is finalised.
10. Adoption
When the co-ordinator of the policy development process is reasonably satisfied that all issues and
concerns about the policy have been aired and dealt with, it is time to finalise the policy. The final
policy document needs to be formally adopted by the management of the organisation
(management committee) with an appropriate record entered in to the minutes.
11. Finalise / approve policy
Who will approve the policy? Is this a strategic issue that should be approved by the Management
Committee or is the Committee confident that this can be dealt with effectively by staff? Bear in
mind that, ultimately, the Management Committee is responsible for all policies and procedures
within the organisation.
12. Consider whether procedures are required
Procedures are more likely to be required to support internal policies. Consider whether there is a
need for clear guidance regarding how the policy will be implemented and by whom. (E.g. a policy
regarding receiving complaints will require a set of procedures detailing how complaints will be
handled). Who will be responsible for developing these procedures? When will this be done? What
will be the processes for consultation, approval and implementation?
13. Communication
Following formal adoption of the policy it should be communicated far and wide throughout the
organisation and stakeholders. Training sessions may need to be conducted to ensure that
organisation personnel are fully informed and able to implement the policy. If the policy is not well
communicated it may fail.
14. Implement
How will the policy be communicated and to whom? Is training required to support the
implementation among staff and volunteers? Should the organisation produce a press release (for
external policy positions)?
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15 Monitor, review, revise
The implementation of the policy should be monitored. The policy may still require further
adjustments and furthermore the reasons for the policies existence may change. A general practise
is to set a date for the policy to be reviewed, this might be one a year or once in every three years. It
just depends on the nature of the policy.
What monitoring and reporting systems are in place to ensure that the policy is implemented and to
assess usage and responses? On what basis and when will the policy be reviewed and revised (if
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Policy Contents
This statement may include descriptions of the following where relevant:
• historical context;
• background in regard to the need for such a policy e.g. legal or regulatory requirements
and/or ministerial directives;
• context in which this policy has arisen including e.g. a description of the conflict or problem
the policy will resolve (recognising the legitimate interests of all parties);
• policy development process (including consultation undertaken); and
• what amendments have been made, if this is an amendment to an existing policy?
Policy Outline
• Operation of this Policy.
• Statement of Intent.
• Definitions.
• Policy Objectives.
• Application of the Policy.
• Acknowledgement.
• Review.
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Operation of this Policy
This section should include a description of:
a. what planning, management and operational aspects or activities the policy applies to; and
b. what specific area within the municipality it applies, if applicable.
For example, for foreshore management: “This policy applies to foreshore planning and
management activities undertaken by [Organisation Name], including development, provision of
native vegetation buffers, and protection and restoration of foreshores”.
Statement of Intent
This should state the explicit intent of the policy and its overall scope. It should also include a list of
relevant State and/or Federal legislation with which the policy complies, or alignment with any
existing standards. It should also outline the benefits to be accrued from the implementation of the
For example, using the Local Government Landscaping with Local Plants Local Planning Policy from
the Local Government NRM Policy Manual to highlight:
“It is the intent of this policy to promote to [Organisation Name] staff and organisational residents
and developers (urban, commercial and industrial) the use of local native species in landscaping and
the protection of existing vegetation. This policy complements, and is consistent with existing
standards and specifications for landscaping.
Major benefits to be accrued from implementation of this policy are three-fold;
(1) reduce requirements for both water and fertiliser, which contributes to the improvement of
downstream water quality;
(2) create habitat for native fauna, and enhance biodiversity values in local government areas;
(3) preserve, create and maintain the natural characteristics of the local environment through
vegetation protection and revegetation”.
This section should list ONLY unique, unfamiliar, technical terms or terms with special meanings to
assist the reader’s understanding of the basic policy. Terms should be listed in alphabetical order.
Policy Objectives
These are broad, clear authoritative statements of what the policy aims to achieve. The objectives
should provide clear direction to staff as to the particulars of what is intended be achieved through
the policy.
To highlight, with reference to the Local Government Landscaping with Local Plants Local Planning
Policy from the Local Government NRM Policy Manual.
“This Landscaping Policy is for Organisation, developers and property owners to:
a. Increase the use of local native plants in landscaping across public and private land.
b. Ensure that landscaping is more sustainable by:
i. Reducing the amount of irrigation water required;
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ii. ii) Reducing the amount of fertiliser required, and to minimise nutrient
export to groundwater, wetlands and the Swan Canning river system;
iii. iii) Reducing threats to biodiversity by avoiding plant selection that may lead
to future environmental weed problems;
iv. iv) Preserving and enhancing the identity and ‘sense of place’ for the local
community through appropriate landscaping; and
c. Enhance local biodiversity by conserving existing native vegetation areas and by
restoring and creating new native vegetation areas to create habitat for indigenous
Application of the Policy
This section should explain procedures regarding how to perform activities or tasks, in order to carry
out the intent of the policy. It should identify performance measures, timelines and key deliverables,
and clarify responsibilities for implementation.
Formal guidelines may need to be developed to support the implementation of the policy,
depending upon the issue being addressed.
This section should acknowledge the sources used in the development of this policy.
This statement should outline the procedures for review of the policy. In normal circumstances the
responsible officer should be notified 6 months prior to the expiry date as a reminder to advise that
the policy requires review. Policies that ensue as a consequence of legislation should be reviewed
annually to assure legislative compliance.

Policy Template
Policy Outline
• Operation of this Policy.
• Statement of Intent.
• Definitions.
• Policy Objectives.
• Application of the Policy.

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• Acknowledgement.
• Review.
1. Operation of this Policy
This policy applies to…
2. Statement of Intent
It is the intent of this policy to promote to [Organisation Name] staff and [other relevant audience]

3. Definitions
4. Policy Objectives
5. Application of the Policy
6. Acknowledgement
7. Review

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Sustainability policies may include:
Reduce amount of energy & water usage in your office
• Use sensors to control lights in low use areas & timers for after office hours
• Utilise energy efficient light bulbs
• Utilise natural light/daylighting to its full potential where possible in your office
• Use recycled water for bathrooms
• Look into rainwater storage options on your building
• Encourage water saving practices in common areas of your workplace, e.g. kitchens
Minimise waste during construction & building operations
• Incorporate recycled and/or responsibly produced materials into your building/office design (check
ethical production registers for provenance)
• Only order the necessary amount of material & responsibly dispose of any excess
• Consider the heating & cooling of your office space during construction
• Use sufficient insulation to reduce the need for artificial temperature controls thus reducing energy
• Increase natural ventilation when building your office space through consideration of window
placement, etc.
Use green power
• Research the possibility of creating onsite generation of renewable energy sources such as solar
& wind power
• Design for disassembly & material re-use
• Consider the future of the products and materials you are using and how they may be reused in your
office space as time goes on
Utilise furnishing & fittings with non-toxic off-gassing
• Off-gassing is the release of a gas that was trapped, dissolved or absorbed in some material. There are
concerns that in closed environments some industrial products can produce gases which may be
harmful to human health.
• Be sure to research the origins and make-up of your materials to ensure a healthy atmosphere in your
Consider parking & transport to your office location
• Aim to promote use of public transport if choosing a new office location
• Offer storage facilities to encourage use of other modes of transport, e.g. bicycle racks
Example of sustainability policy (excerpt)
XYZ Corporation recognises that organisations can have a negative impact on the environment. We are
committed, and enjoy, finding ways in which we can reduce the impact of our work both in the office and
when work takes us away from the office.
It is our policy to:
• Recycle as much waste material as possible
• Avoid the use of paper wherever possible. For example, sending invoices and quotes via email as PDF
• Recycling equipment that is no longer of use to the company. For example, giving away items such as
computers and printers that we no longer use.
• Keep energy usage low. For example, making use of low energy light bulbs throughout and ensuring
that computers are shut down after work.
• Reuse wastepaper (from the printer) where possible, making use of the blank side for notes etc.
• Purchase products made with recycled paper. For example, paper towels, printer paper
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• Purchase products with a lower environmental impact. For example, environmentally safe soaps and
• Use low impact transport for travel to and from work and travel for organisation. For example, we use
public transport to attend meetings and offer a Cycle Scheme to encourage staff to cycle to work or to
• Avoid unnecessary travel by making use of instant messaging, video and audio conferencing,
telephone and email.
Agreed outcomes of the policy and procedures
A policy is a statement of intent, and is implemented as a procedure or protocol. Policies and
procedures are the lifeblood of your organisation. As the framework for your daily operations and a
reflection of your values, your policies help guide your employees into success through compliance.
Because they define standards for conduct, your policies and procedures play a large role in creating
the culture of your company or organization. They can also equip you to meet strategic goals, reduce
risk, and identify opportunities for improvement.
As you consider developing your policies and procedures, it’s important to understand the
relationship between the two. Policies are high-level principles that “set the directional tone” of
your organization. Procedures, on the other hand, step-by-step application process of the policy in
carrying out tasks and activities in the organisation. Essentially, they are the steps your employees
need to take to adhere to your policies. If you want to lead your organisation well, writing effective
policies and procedures is a great first step. A policy is a deliberate system of principles to guide
decisions and achieve rational outcomes.
Policy timeframes and costs
A policy in development or revision goes through a rigorous review and approval process during
which the policy is “fleshed out,” meaning that appropriate organisation constituents are consulted.
Depending on the nature of the policy, these constituents may include senior executives, CEO, vice
presidents, directors, general manager, managers, executives, administrators, business managers,
and others. The entire process to develop a new policy often takes six months or more. However,
revisions to existing policy may take only a few days or weeks, depending on the extent and nature
of the modifications.
Policy costs
There are really three main costs you should consider to writing policies and procedures.
1. The physical cost of writing policies and procedures.
2. The opportunity cost of NOT writing policies and procedures.
3. The cost of writing policies and procedures AND NOT using them!
What does it cost to write policies and procedures?
If we are going to look at costs then we need to account for labour to write, review, release and
receive the information. First there is the labour cost to write and publish your procedures, which
includes personnel costs, overhead, and the methods, skills and tools. Somebody has to research the
material, find best practices, and write out the actual policies, procedures, and forms. A technical
writer is who usually does this but if you don’t have a technical writer then you should use a manger
that has the subject matter knowledge.
Once written a manager must review and approve your written policies and procedures. You might
want to include a consultant, lawyer or other professional too, depending on the subject at hand.
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Many policy and procedure documents include regulations, laws, or standards for compliance and
having a trained professional to review your documents is always a good idea.
And finally, you must release them to everyone that has to use them. Releasing your procedure
documents includes ensuring you have some type of document revision control, an introductory
training or announcement session, and some type of follow up to see how well everyone is using
The cost of not writing policies and procedures
The cost of not developing policies and procedures include such things as waste, fraud and abuse.
But it also includes your inability to recover from disasters quickly and the opportunity cost of lost
revenue due to poor customer service standards, poor quality, and the untold inefficiencies that
result from not have proper business processes defined. Having none, or having few, or having very
poorly developed policies and procedures can be catastrophic.
Having poor or non-existent policies and procedures is resulting in only 15% inefficiencies, poor
quality and losses due to waste, fraud and abuse. We call this number your Cost of Quality (COQ) or
better yet, your cost of poor quality (COPQ). To put this in perspective, various quality gurus have
estimated a company’s COPQ to range from 15% to 40% of your total sales. Your losses due to
inefficiencies, poor quality and lost revenue can be massive.
Imagine you have 100 employees and $15 million in revenue. Then having a very low COPQ of only
15% would translate into $2.25 Million in losses. Do you think you could develop your own policies
and procedures for less than $2 million?
The cost of writing policies and procedures and not using them
There is the cost of developing policies and procedures and not using them, which includes all of the
costs of developing and the costs of NOT developing. Imagine spending the time to write out your
policies and procedures, develop job descriptions, create process maps, and then just put everything
on the shelf. A lot of companies spend the time to produce their policies and procedures and then
they file them away.
A business that encountered some significant fraud. They had millions embezzled from them from
inside the accounting department. Their board of directors was furious when they found out there
were no written policies and procedures in place. So, they immediately ordered that a system of
policies and procedures be developed to prevent any future embezzlement. What do you think
The company spent a lot of money to develop them and then failed to use them. Everything was
business as usual, which also meant there was opportunity for new embezzlement schemes. A few
years later another embezzlement plan was discovered. This time it was not because of the lack of
policies and procedures, but instead because they failed to use them. What good are your internal
controls if you have lax standard operating procedures?
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Performance indicators
Incorporation of sustainability concepts into the sustainability policy and decision-making process
will require the adoption of sustainability indicators for purposes of problem definition, goal setting,
measurement of progress, evaluation of performance, communication with stakeholders, and
management reporting. In particular, to effectively support sustainability initiatives in processes,
procedures and program and, coordination will be facilitated by the adoption of a common
framework for sustainability indicators.
Sustainability indicators are a powerful tool for focusing attention on important environmental,
economic, and social trends that provide signals of change in corporate sector establishments.
However, indicators can potentially be manipulated to convey biased messages, and therefore the
selection of indicators for sustainability policy purposes should be approached with the utmost
effort to assure objectivity, transparency, and stakeholder consensus. Based on the three pillars
concept, a sustainability indicator can be defined as a measurable aspect of environmental,
economic, or social systems that is useful for monitoring changes in system characteristics relevant
to the continuation of corporate and environmental well-being.
The use of sustainability indicators and corresponding metrics is essential for an integrated systems
approach to the addressing challenges of sustainability. When carefully chosen and implemented,
indicators can help managers and policy makers to (modified from “An overview of sustainability
assessment methodologies:”
• Anticipate and assess conditions or historical trends
• Provide early warning information to prevent adverse outcomes
• Benchmark against other systems
• Communicate ideas
• Support decision-making
• Formulate strategies and establish improvement goals
• Track progress
System-Based Indicators
It is clear that the characterization of sustainability and the development of sustainable solutions
require a comprehensive “holistic-systems” approach with integrated evaluation of the social,
environmental, and economic consequences (NRC, 2011). ORD has developed an innovative “triple
value” (3V) framework, depicted in Figure 3 that helps to capture the dynamic interactions among
industrial, societal, and ecological systems (Fiksel, 2009). There are four major categories of
indicators that are applicable to these systems:
1. Adverse Outcome (AOI)—indicates destruction of value due to impacts upon individuals,
communities, business enterprises, or the natural environment.
2. Resource Flow (RFI)—indicates pressures associated with the rate of consumption of resources,
including materials, energy, water, land, or biota.
3. System Condition (SCI)—indicates state of the systems in question, i.e., individuals,
communities, business enterprises, or the natural environment.
4. Value Creation (VCI)—indicates creation of value (both economic and well-being) through
enrichment of individuals, communities, business enterprises, or the natural environment.
Major Categories of System-Based Indicators

Indicator Category Indicator Types Organisational Scale indicator
National Scale Examples

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Adverse Outcome
• Exposure
• Risk
• Incidence
• Impact
• Loss
• Impairment
• Health impacts of air
pollution of workplace
• Worker safety
• Sewer overflow
• Health impacts of air
• Public safety
• Life cycle footprint of
energy use
Resource Flow
• Volume
• Intensity
• Recovery
• Impact
• Quality
• Greenhouse gas
• Material flow volume
• Water treatment efficacy
• Recycling rate
• Land use
• Greenhouse gas
• Material flow volume
• Resource depletion
System Condition
• Health
• Wealth
• Satisfaction
• Growth
• Dignity
• Capacity
• Quality of Life
• Air & water quality
• Local employment
• Local household income
• Housing Density
• Infrastructure durability
• Community educational
• Air quality
• Water quality
• Employment
• Household income
Value Creation
• Profitability
• Economic Output
• Income
• Capital Investment
• Human
• Cost (reduction)
• Water use efficiency
• Fuel efficiency (gain)
• Energy efficiency (gain)
• Vehicle use (miles per
• Cost (reduction)
• Fuel efficiency (gain)
• Energy efficiency

Indicators comprise a baseline and a target, both of which when compared against each other,
measure change. Here’s how we define them.
• Baseline: a measure used to benchmark the current state of an indicator so that the recorded
results can be appropriately calculated
• Target: the improvement or achievement expected to take place while the project is being
Most-used types of KPIs

indicator type
Description Example
Quantitative indicators are the most
straight-forward of KPIs. In short, they are
measured solely by a number. There are
two types of quantitative indicators –
continuous and discrete. Continuous
quantitative indicators can take any value
(including decimals) over a range. Discrete
quantitative measures include things like
complaints, accidents, and rating scales.
• measurements of
• dollars and cents,
• Whole number
• Fraction
• Percentage,
• Quantity and
• weight.

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Qualitative indicators are not measured
by numbers. Typically, a qualitative KPI is
a characteristic of a process or business
decision. Examples of qualitative KPIs
include opinions, properties, and traits.
A common qualitative indicator that
organizations regularly use would
be an employee satisfaction survey.
While some of the survey data
would be considered quantitative,
the measures themselves are based
on the opinion of a person.
Qualitative focuses more on the
“why” as opposed to the “how.”
Leading Indicators Leading indicators are used to predict the
outcome of a change in a process and
confirm long-term trends in data. In a Best
Practices LLC survey, several fortune 500
companies supplied some of the metrics
that they use as leading indicators.
• Number of new patents
• Number of new innovations
• Customer service perception
Lagging Indicators Lagging indicators are used to measure
results at the end of a time period to
reflect upon the success or failure of an
initiative. Often, they are used to gauge
historical performance. Some examples of
lagging indicators include total customer
contacts or total incidents.
Lagging indicators give businesses
the ability to evaluate the
effectiveness of their business
decisions and determine whether
their business decisions facilitated
the desired outcome.
Input Indicators Input indicators are used to measure
resources used during a business process.
Input indicators are necessary for tracking
resource efficiency in large projects with a
lot of moving parts, but are also useful in
projects of all sizes.
• staff time,
• cash on hand, or
• equipment.
Process Indicators Process indicators are used specifically to
gauge the efficiency of a process and
facilitate helpful changes. A very common
process indicator for support teams are
KPIs focused around customer support
Tickets resolved, tickets opened,
and average resolution times are all
process indicators that shed light on
the customer support process. In
this example, that data can be used
to influence changes in the support
process to improve performance.
Output Indicators Output indicators measure the success or
failure of a process or business activity.
Output indicators are one of the most
used KPI-types.
• revenues,
• profits, or
• new customers acquired
Practical Indicators Practical indicators take into account
existing company processes and explore
the effects of those processes on the
For this reason, many practical
indicators may be unique to your
company or work processes.
Directional indicators evaluate specific
trends within a company. Where are the
metrics moving? Are they improving,
declining, or maintaining?
Ideally, most companies would like to
lower their average Time on Site, as it is
indicative of a faster, more effective
service. Broad directional indicators can
An example of a directional metric
used by many service providers
would be Time on Site. This metric
is used to measure the time that
techs spend on-site fixing issues and
troubleshooting problems.

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be used to evaluate your company’s
position within your industry relative to
Actionable indicators measure and reflect
a company’s commitment and
effectiveness in implementing business
changes. These metrics are used to
determine how well a company is able to
enact their desired changes within
specified time-frames.
Those changes could be:
• within business processes,
• company culture, or
• political action.
Financial Indicators Financial indicators are the measurement
of economic stability, growth, and
business viability. Financial indicators
provide straight-forward insight into the
financial health of a company but must be
paired with the other KPI-types
mentioned in this article to provide a
complete picture.
• gross profit margin,
• net profit,
• aging accounts receivable and
asset ratios.

Based on generally accepted performance measurement principles, an overarching criterion in the
selection of indicators is “materiality,” i.e., their relevance to the problem or issue under
consideration. The following is a list of selection criteria that can be used to choose sustainability
performance indicators. The set of indicators should be:
• Relevant to the interests of the intended audiences, reflecting important opportunities for
enhancement of social and environmental conditions as well as economic prosperity.
• Meaningful to the intended audiences in terms of clarity, comprehensibility and transparency.
• Objective in terms of measurement techniques and verifiability, while allowing for regional,
cultural and socio-economic differences.
• Effective for supporting benchmarking and monitoring over time, as well as decision-making
about how to improve performance.
• Comprehensive in providing an overall evaluation of progress with respect to sustainability
• Consistent across different sites or communities, using appropriate normalization and other
methods to account for their inherent diversity.
• Practical in allowing cost-effective, non-burdensome implementation and building on existing
data collection where possible.
In addition, the Green Book (NRC, 2011) states that indicators should have the following attributes:
• Actionable, so that practical steps can be taken to address contributing factors.
• Transferable and scalable, so that they are adaptable at regional, state, or local levels.
• Intergenerational, reflecting fair distribution of costs and benefits among different generations.
• Durable, so that they have long-term relevance.
While every indicator need not satisfy all of these criteria, a credible portfolio of sustainability
indicators should have the above characteristics. The most effective performance measurement
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programs are those that focus upon a small number of quantifiable key performance indicators
(KPIs) covering the most important aspects of sustainability for the specific problem at hand.
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Activities to be undertaken
During the policy development process, the following activities must be undertaken:
1. Undertake research – to identify environmental legislation, regulations and standards including global
movements, sustainability developments and sustainability best practice models.
2. Consult stakeholders – Circulating the discussion paper to all stakeholders (interested parties) is a first
step in the consultation process. It may also be necessary to telephone stakeholders and send notices
to remind stakeholders to read the discussion paper. It is then important to gain as much feedback
from stakeholders as possible.
3. Prepare a discussion paper – The purpose of the discussion paper is to explain the nature of
the problem or issue, to summarise information yielded by research and to suggest a
number of policy options. The discussion paper will be an important tool in the process of
4. Draft the policy – When there has been sufficient time for consultation processes to be
completed the next step is to prepare a draft policy.
5. Communicate the policy – Following formal adoption of the policy it should be
communicated far and wide throughout the organisation and stakeholders. Training sessions
may need to be conducted to ensure that organisation personnel are fully informed and able
to implement the policy. If the policy is not well communicated it may fail.
6. Present to management and incorporate any suggestions into a final draft.
7. Finalise and develop the policy – this stage you write the policy for approval using internal
or external writer.
8. Obtain approval – forward finalised policy to the management for approval. Management
approves the policy and a review date and date of endorsement is recorded.
9. Implement the policy – The policy becomes a working document. Communicate the policy or
changes to families through email, newsletters, and notices at the service or however else
you think appropriate, as per Regulation 12. Link the policy review to Quality Improvement
Plan – note the review date on the policy.
10. Review and evaluate – The implementation of the policy should be monitored. The policy
may still require further adjustments and furthermore the reasons for the policies existence
may change. A general practise is to set a date for the policy to be reviewed, this might be
one a year or once in every three years. It just depends on the nature of the policy.
Assigned responsibilities
Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, usually refers to a company’s commitment to practice
environmental and social sustainability and to be good stewards of the environment and the social
landscapes in which they operate. Organisation’s executive must ensure organisation complies with
the Act and all subordinate legislation. If the corporation commits an offence, the executive officers
are deemed to have committed the same offense (maximum penalty – up to 6250 penalty units or
five years imprisonment). In practice, this means a supervisor must ensure that the staff (or
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contractors) they are responsible for are able to undertake their duties without breaching the EP
Executive officer liabilities are:
• the executive took all reasonable steps to ensure compliance, or
• the executive was not in a position to influence the conduct of the corporation.
Taking “reasonable steps” to ensure compliance includes:
• being familiar with all environmental aspects of organisation’s operations,
• identifying members on staff with responsibility for environmental management,
• preparing, implementing and supporting an Environmental Management System that
addresses all regulatory requirements and risks,
• keeping abreast of changes and developments in policy and legal requirements,
• demonstrating and communicating responsibility to employees and the public,
• ensuring staff are adequately trained and resourced to undertake their duties,
• exercising control over the actions of contractors, and
• keeping adequate records to demonstrate compliance.

Position Department Responsibility
CEO Head of the
To lead sustainability outcomes across the organization
through driven by leadership, Vision and Plan 2030.
Directors Departmental
To provide management commitment and communicate
the sustainability principles and ensure that managers and
staff have access to any training necessary to effectively
implement the policy.
To lead the integration of sustainability principles in all of
council’s decision-making.
Executive and
Divisional and
sectional heads
To ensure sustainability is integrated into workplace
practices and that staff undertake any necessary training
to adhere to the policy.
Supervisors Team heads Supervise the policy implementation by employees
Employees Under all the
Participate in practicing policy and procedures
implementation within duties and responsibilities

Record keeping, review and improvement processes
Resource usage
In determining how you will collect resource usage data, determine whether you will seek assistance
from other staff or departments. You should make it very clear to them what sort of information you
require, for example, requesting for ‘the last 12 months of invoices for electricity usage in the
You can collect information about resources by obtaining the invoices for services such as water, gas,
electricity and waste collection. These invoices generally show amounts used in both dollars and
amount of usage, unit of measurement, and, increasingly, will also provide a greenhouse gas
emission calculation.
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Collecting information about general resources can be obtained from the purchasing department or
you can just count numbers and types of office equipment, furniture, stationery, etc. To do this you
could develop a table such as following:

Resource Resource usage
Mar-20 Apr-20 May-20
Building and Room Lights 6135KW 6032KW 5816KW
Air Conditioner 100kw 90kw 80kw
Computers 2050kw 3000kw 3050kw
Photocopiers x3 1010kw 1020kw 1001kw
Toner 11 10 9
Photocopy paper (reams) 95 102 97
Tap water – internal building (e.g. kitchen) 400litres 505litres 601litres
Water consumption – Toilets 318KL 295KL 286KL
Tap water – external building (e.g. gardens) 250kl 110kl 90kl
Plastic sleeves (box 300) 2 2 1
Folders (binders) 6 8 5
Coffee (500g tin) 1 1 1
Tea (100 bags in a box) 4 4 3
Milk 26L 28L 23L
Plastic cups for water cooler (pack 10) 5 4 3
Company cars x3 – petrol usage and carbon
emissions (per week)
320L 340L 355L
Waste bins x60 (wastage per day) 60litres 80L 85L
Recycling bins x1 (boxes emptied per week) 1 3 3.5
Refrigerators x2 2000kw 2020kw 1080kw
Water cooler x1 20L 15L 16L
Hot water cylinders x2 40L 60L 55L
Microwaves x8 60kw 70kw 45kw
Soft drink vending machine x1 55kw 55kw 40kw
Building heating 250kw 300kw 305kw

The energy usage of items is often written on the equipment or in the user guide. You could make up
a third column noting this information and the amount of time the equipment is switched on/in use
so that you can calculate energy usage later if required.
Depending on the detail of your audit, you may even identify the types of coffee/tea you supply,
stationery supplies (pens, pencils, etc), copy paper, etc. A Green Office program can assist you
identify and categorise these items.
Record keeping
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Develop an Excel spreadsheet template to record and keep track of expenses incurred in buying toners and
maintaining the office printers and photocopiers within a 6 months period.
The template must include relevant headings and labels appropriate to the data to be entered (see sample
below). The information later entered into the spreadsheet will be converted into graphs/charts to be used to
make informed decisions about how to further improve processes and reduce costs. Also assign a person
responsible for monitoring, recording and reporting the outcomes. Example: Excel spreadsheet template

Template Item June July Aug Sep Oct Nov
Photocopier pages 130 520 410 414 552 120
Laser printer pages 1275 1382 1420 1220 1165 857
MFD Pages 123 82 79 76 45 50
Total reams paper 3 6 3 3 6 2
Cost of paper $20 $26 $23 $19 $22 $13
Laser printer toners 4 6 3 4 2 4
Printer toner cost $25 $131 $123 $110 $85 $120 $65
Photocopier toners 3 5 2 4 4 3
Photocopier toner costs @$20 $70 $90 $60` $55 $65 $60

Ensure recordkeeping systems are performing well
• Check that the recordkeeping requirements of all recordkeeping systems have been identified
• Assess systems against recordkeeping requirements and defined functionality, i.e. is the system
capturing records of [name of function] transactions, are unique identifiers assigned to records,
etc. Note: This is likely to involve interviews with both system managers and business managers.
• Monitor system downtime (electronic systems)
• Check that records have unique identifiers in the system. Check that the metadata automatically
applied by systems are correct, e.g. date and time, record creator information, unique
transaction numbers, etc.
• Check that records are able to be accessed and retrieved from the system
• Confirm that migrations of records from one system to another are controlled and documented,
and that metadata remains linked to the record when it is migrated
• Check that records managed, stored or returned by outsourced service providers are complete
and accessible
• Confirm that recovery and restoration processes for digital records and recordkeeping systems
function correctly and that records can be recovered and restored after a disaster.
The sustainability project manager will implement the policy in accordance with the communication
and implementation plan and maintain a log of progress against the plan. Supporting documentation
relating to implementation and the facilitation of compliance with the policy can include
frameworks, forms, toolkits, checklists, instructions and templates. The implementation process will
involve reporting the outcomes of policy change to all previously identified stakeholders and other
parties who require this information.
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Education workshops involving key stakeholders and users are recommended for disseminating new
policy information. The communication and implementation plan becomes especially important
when policies are critical, complex or time-sensitive or when a suite of policies are developed or
reviewed. These plans may also target different user groups.
Maintenance and Review
The policy issues log maintained by the sustainability project manager throughout the
implementation process can be used to monitor the uptake of the policy and record feedback to be
used to inform further reviews of the policy. The sustainability project manager will be responsible
for ensuring the policy is regularly reviewed and that the timeframe for review is appropriate for a
sustainability policy. Review dates should be assigned by the sustainability project manager in
consultation with the CEO and board of directors. The sustainability project manager in consultation
with the CEO and board of directors should ensure that any associated policies are modified or
superseded and archived.
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Common sustainability issues with organisational systems and
Sustainability describes the ability to maintain various systems and processes — environmentally,
socially, and economically. A sustainable approach to business may be identified by evidence of the
alignment of the organisation’s social, environmental and financial objectives through a “triplebottom-line” measure of overall performance. In reality, many organizations find achieving this
alignment to be problematic, perhaps because it necessitates a focus on a range of non-financial
outcomes, when organizations have become so used to measuring everything in financial terms.
Corporate Sustainability is the discipline by which companies align decision-making about the allocation of
capital, product development, brand and sourcing with the principles of sustainable development, in a
resource-constrained world.
A system is a network of interdependent elements that work together to accomplish the systems
aim (or its intent). Thinking of organisations as systems provides us with a variety of important
viewpoints. For example, organisations are exposed to their environment just as any other type of
system. In order for systems to work effectively in such a changing environment, systems must be
capable of adaption and continuous improvement. Failure to monitor and make adjustments to the
environment can cause a state called entropy where misalignment occurs through incorrect
assertions and decisions. This can lead to irrelevance and threatens sustainable targets.
The organisation as a total system is made up of sub-systems which typically include its
functions. These may include marketing, finance, production, operations, HR, etc. Such sub-systems
work interdependently and for the common good of the total system. They cannot work effectively
if isolated or managed independently from the others. A change in one sub-system usually affects
other sub-systems and in turn the total system as well. Sub-systems therefore work together
towards synergy (a harmony of forces) in order to accomplish organisational goals that couldn’t have
been accomplished by any one sub-system alone.
System issues
Leadership system – when the Leadership System does not function effectively, performance
deteriorates. The Leadership System is the central organizing system that must deliver on all
functions owned by the Top Team or C-suite. These functions include and require that leadership:
become cohesive, define the future (vision), set direction, create and execute strategy, ensure
alignment, communicate clarity, engage stakeholders, develop talent, manage performance, build
accountability, ensure succession, allocate resources, craft the culture, and deliver results.
Communication system – Everything happens in or because of a conversation, and every exchange is
a potential moment of truth—a point of failure or critical link in the success chain. Strategic
communication ensures that the impact of your message is consistent with your intentions, and
results in understanding. What you say, the way you say it, where, when, and under what
circumstances it is said shape the performance culture. When leaders maximize their contribution to
daily conversations, they engage and align people around a common cause, reduce uncertainty,
keep people focused, equip people for moments of truth that create an on-the-table culture,
prevent excuses, learn from experience, treat mistakes as intellectual capital, and leverage the
power of leadership decisions to shape beliefs and behaviours.
Accountability system – Leaders translate vision and strategic direction into goals and objectives,
actions and accountabilities. Performance accountability systems clarify what is expected of people
and align consequences or rewards with actual performance. Leaders need to build discipline into
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their leadership process and management cycle to achieve accountability, predictability, learning,
renewal, and sustainability.
Performance system – The inefficient human performance system that is designed to attract,
develop, and retain the most talented people will not effectively contribute to workplace
sustainability. The idea is to hire the best people and help them develop their skills, talents, and
knowledge over time. Of course, it becomes more critical, as they add abilities and know-how, that
we reward them properly so they feel good about their work and choose to remain with the
organization as loyal employees.
Measurement system – A poorly defined system of metrics, reviews, and course corrections does
not keep the business on track. Organizations need concrete measures that facilitate quality control,
consistent behaviours, and predictable productivity and results. Within these parameters, control is
instrumental to viability and profitability. Every activity has a set of daily rituals and measures.
Leaders establish and maintain the measurement system to ensure disciplined processes. They track
progress against strategy and planning; review status on operational results through clear key
metrics; update the strategy regularly; and ensure action is driven by insight based on relevant,
current information that is focused on achieving the vision.
Organisational Processes
Business-processes of companies start functioning long before the moment a company is formed,
has job positions, time trackers and staff schedules. Any business-process starts from the idea which
is developing into the system of activities and into a functioning structure.
Business-process starts from customers interviewing and finishes when customers are satisfied with
a product or a service. The aim of describing business-processes is to see problems and gaps which
cause confusion in work and cooperation of different divisions of a company.
There are three types of business-processes:
1. Managing: business-processes which manage functioning of a system. Corporate
management or strategic management can be examples of this type. A time tracker can have
auxiliary function in managing business-processes.
2. Operating: business-processes which provide the main business of a company and make the
basic income stream. A time tracker acts as a controller of this process. Production,
marketing and sales are examples of operating business-processes.
3. Supporting: business processes which serve the basic business. For example, accounting,
human resource management, technical support. A time tracker is a key tool for human
resource management. Moreover, time tracker software can be integrated with accounting
software and technical support service in order to optimize business-processes of a
Process issues
There can be sustainability issues with above processes when:
• They are designed poorly or very bureaucratic manner that process does consume
unnecessary level of resources.
• Lack of governance, or process control, is where process management failures begin. With
poor governance, a process has no chance of succeeding.
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• Limited workforce engagement brings process development to a halt. No one is going the
extra mile to try to continually make the job easier and more efficient. Engaged employees
feel that the work they do contributes meaningfully to the company and their efforts have a
direct impact on its success. They strive for innovation, perfection, and efficiency, which
leads to more happy customers and reduced expenses.
• Delivery process – complex delivery or customer service processes. The best organizations
develop simple processes that are internally efficient, locally responsive, and globally
adaptable. Complexity is removed from the customer experience to enable them to engage
you in ways that are both elegant and satisfying. Establishing and optimizing operational
performance is an ongoing journey. Operations need to be focused on the priority work,
using the most effective techniques—aligning initiatives and operations with strategy;
continuously improving operations; pursuing performance breakthroughs in key areas; using
advanced change techniques in support of major initiatives; establishing a pattern of
executive sponsorship for all initiatives; and building future capability and capacity.
Sub-systems or organisational functions are themselves made up of processes or work
operations. These processes are themselves a system of sorts with inputs (e.g. materials, people,
finance and information) being transformed (technical, administrative, financial and human
elements, etc) into outputs such as products, services, profits, behaviours, reports, etc. Feedback on
the performance of the output (its ability to meet its objective as measured appropriately) is fed
back into the input side of the system in order to inform improvement or other changes to the input
or transformational stages of the process system. Processes are therefore subject to variation and
can usually be improved in some way.
Typical barriers to implementing policies and procedures in an
organisation and possible strategies to address them.
The major barriers to policy implementation perceived by participants were a lack of a monitoring
and evaluation system, a lack of organization knowledge regarding skills required
for implementation, poor governance system, lack of funding and resources, lack of effective multisectoral platforms.
Typical barriers to implementing policies and procedures in an organisation and possible strategies
to address them.

Barriers Description Strategy to overcome the barrier
Lack of
A lack of leadership or the failure of
leadership to inspire others in the
Despite a good reputation, the
sustainability agenda often relies on
individuals and occurs only in pockets
across organisations.
Use examples of what other organisations have
done. Case studies can be used as a organisation
case for sustainability.
External experts or facilitators can be used to help
raise awareness of sustainability internally.
When communicating to senior management on
sustainability issues do it in a meaningful and
memorable way.
Try using statistics and graphs. Get your
sustainability initiatives recognised externally by
submitting awards applications.
Lack of general
manager and
The level of personal commitment,
knowledge and leadership provided by
Recognise staff achievements in the area of
sustainability. The intranet and staff newsletters are
possible tools. Reward staff achievements in the

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Barriers Description Strategy to overcome the barrier
senior management, in particular the
General Manager of the organisation
area of sustainability e.g. Staff Awards Program Ask
your GM to endorse your work by inviting them to
speak at relevant meetings and training sessions.
Gap between
Theory &
A mismatch between what is espoused
and what is practiced. Policies not being
carried through to implementation.
Integrate sustainability into organisations
management plans, job descriptions and induction
training. Build momentum by doing the little things
right. It is better to excel in a few targeted areas
rather than have average performance across a wide
range of areas
The level of openness of staff to change
can effect how sympathetic they are to
the sustainability agenda. A organisation
motivated to come up with new and
improved ways of doing things. A history
of strong leadership and a policy of
recruiting people with these values and
skills can contribute to a sympathetic
organisational culture.
Make the most of a positive organisational culture
by involving staff from across the organisation in
sustainability planning and actions.
Create opportunities for staff to exchange ideas
about sustainability. Start an internal sustainability
committee or host lunch time sustainability
Lack of staff
capacity and
high staff turn
Staff with responsibilities for engaging
their organisation or community in
sustainability, feel the pressures of their
wide-ranging responsibilities and the
types of skills required of them. There is
a need for increasing skills of staff more
generally. High staff turnover and loss of
corporate knowledge.
Improve staff capacity to work on sustainability
issues by developing an internal sustainability
committee made up of staff from different divisions.
Support professional development opportunities
around sustainability. Consider implementing a
mentoring program to give staff additional support.
Lack of
Having a sustainability position or a
sustainability team was identified as a
major enabler. However regardless of a
person’s job title or position within
organisation, staff who are highly
motivated and possess skills in
motivating others are extremely
Recognise dedicated staff by offering incentives such
as staff bonuses and awards. Encourage
sustainability staff to speak at conferences.
A lower priority for environmental or
social equity issues was often a
reflection of prevailing community
attitudes or lobbying by interest groups.
Host sustainability workshops to raise community
awareness and build community support.
Use community expectations and concerns to
highlight the importance of sustainability issues.
systems for
For many organisations, data
management and IT systems present
real challenges. The problems of
complex and incompatible systems, or
lack of automation, can add to the time
involved in planning, coordination and
Use internal financial management systems to track
sustainable procurement.
Investigate the use of external companies to monitor
your water and energy consumption.
Internal management systems that
brake down silos and ensure easy access
to information can help achieve
sustainability outcomes.
If you are using good systems for sustainability
outcomes promote their use both internally and
Lack of internal
and external
A lack of resources can limit the
implementation of actions in
sustainability plans. The current
economic climate is putting a strain on
organisation budgets, with implications
for staffing.
Set up a revolving energy fund. The money that is
saved from reduced energy consumption is
reinvested in sustainability programs. Use a grant
database to track upcoming grants and avoid missed

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Barriers Description Strategy to overcome the barrier
Partner with other organisations or organisations to
develop regional grant applications.
Apply for an environment/sustainability levy.
Identify and implement low cost initiatives.
The language of
While practitioners in this area
understand sustainability is convenient
shorthand for a set of well understood
principles, the term often proved
problematic when used in a broader
audience. This is often adds to confusion
about the term “sustainability”.
Encourage organisation and the community to
define what sustainability means to them. Develop a
shared sustainability vision and understandings.
Sustainability newsletters, sustainability induction
and sustainability surveys can be used to build
awareness of key principles.

Test your knowledge
1. Identify Australian and international standards relating to corporate sustainability
2. Describe environmental and sustainability legislation, regulations and codes of practice
applicable to organisation
3. Outline internal and external sources of information and their use in planning and
developing organisational sustainability policies and procedures
4. Briefly describe elements required for the development of organisational sustainability
policies and processes including:
a. agreed outcomes of the policy and procedures
b. policy timeframes and costs
c. performance indicators
d. activities to be undertaken
e. assigned responsibilities
5. Explain record keeping, review and improvement processes
6. Identify common sustainability issues with organisational systems and procedures
7. Describe typical barriers to implementing policies and procedures in an organisation and
possible strategies to address them.
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Skills development and application guidelines
Learning outcome description
The following sections of this workbook describes the required application of skills to develop and
implement workplace sustainability policies and to modify the policy to suit changed circumstances.
The unit applies to individuals with managerial responsibilities who undertake work developing
approaches to create, monitor and improve strategies and policies within workplaces. These
individuals also engage with a range of relevant stakeholders and specialists. ‘Sustainability’ in this
unit refers to a broad approach that focuses on the minimisation of an organisation’s social,
economic and environmental impact, as well as proactive value creation in these areas.
Skills application
The following sections includes the application of language, literacy, numeracy and employment skills that are
essential to performance

Skill Description
Numeracy • Interprets and uses mathematical equations to calculate numerical
information relating to time durations and costs
Oral communication • Presents information and seeks advice using language appropriate to
• Participates in discussions using listening and questioning to elicit the views
of others and to clarify or confirm understanding
Reading • Identifies, analyses and evaluates complex textual information to
determine legislative and regulatory requirements, trends and outcomes
Writing • Researches, plans and prepares documentation using format and language
appropriate to context, organisational requirements and audience
Initiative and
• Develops, monitors and modifies organisational policies and procedures
according to legislative requirements and organisation goals
Teamwork • Selects and uses appropriate conventions and protocols when
communicating with internal and external stakeholders to seek or share
• Plays a lead role in consulting and negotiating positive outcomes with a
range of stakeholders
Planning and
• Plans, organises and implements work activities of self and others that
ensure compliance with organisational policies and procedures, and
legislative requirements
• Sequences and schedules complex activities, monitors implementation,
and manages relevant communication
• Uses systematic, analytical processes in relatively complex, situations,
setting goals, gathering relevant information, and identifying and
evaluating options against agreed criteria

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Skill Description
• Evaluates outcomes of decisions to identify opportunities for improvement

Performance outcome
Upon completion of the following sections, you must be able to complete the tasks described in the
following sections and foundation skills of this unit, including evidence of the ability to develop and
implement workplace policies and procedures for sustainability on at least one occasion, including:
• implementing sustainability policy and procedures into wider organisational policies and
• consulting and communicating with relevant stakeholders to generate engagement with
sustainability policy development, implementation and continuous improvement.
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Section 1
Prepare workplace sustainability policies
Sustainable organisations
Sustainable organisations reflect the same balance of economic, social, and environmental
responsibility. They exist as organisation entities, but are a part of a system that relies on a healthy
dynamic of man-made and natural elements. At their most basic level, organisations take inputs,
process them (adding value), and generate outputs. That gives us the ideal of a truly sustainable
company to strive for:
A truly sustainable organisation is one that:
• Uses the waste of other processes as its input, and minimizes or eliminates the use of virgin
materials extracted from the earth;
• Creates output that can be used by other processes or returned to a natural state, and
eliminates waste that can’t be used or returned to a natural state;
• Uses the least amount of energy to achieve the desired outcome, and uses energy ultimately
derived from renewable sources.
The value organisations generate has traditionally been measured in purely financial metrics.
However, it is becoming more common to reflect the value generated as a “triple bottom line.”
Whether represented formally as a Corporate Social Responsibility report or more informally,
organisations interested in being sustainable now focus on the triple bottom line of people, planet,
and profit. Sustainability manifests itself in organisations at a variety of levels, including:
• Strategy – Some organisations decide what to make or do based on sustainable organisation
ideals. Stonyfield Farms has made social and environmental responsibility a key part of its
organisation strategy since it began.
• Supply chain & value webs – Walmart requires its suppliers to evaluate and disclose the full
environmental impact of their products. There continues to be increased attention to socalled industrial ecology, which analyses the material and energy flows within whole
industrial systems, often extending far beyond the domain of a single organisation.
• Operations – Decisions about how to make and move products increasingly reflect
environmental impacts. In the case of the floor covering company Interface, what has
become one of the real sustainable organisation success stories started with rethinking the
social and environmental impacts of their operations.[1] In many cases, organisations have
instituted Environmental Management Systems (EMS) have operationalized the tracking,
documentation, and reporting of environmental impacts by the organisation. There is even a
specific ISO standard (ISO 14001:2004) governing EMS.
• Product development & design – Organisations have incorporated sustainability into their
new product development process in ways ranging from specifically creating “green”
products (e.g., Brooks Green Silence, with its BioMoGo biodegradable midsole) to the
reduction of the environmental impact of its “regular” products (e.g., Apple’s use of a
recyclable aluminium enclosure for its Mac Pro computer).
Establish scope and objectives of workplace sustainability
As can be seen in the sustainability definitions above (introduction section), sustainability represents
a balanced interaction between the human-built and natural worlds. This interaction is often
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expressed as having three components: environment, social equity, and economy. This applies to
organisational operations relevant to use of resources in each of operational elements.
As you begin the task of creating a workplace sustainability policy, it is important to begin by
determining the scope of your sustainability policy. It is easy to decide that you are going to change
the whole world, or at least change your whole organisation, but much harder to actually accomplish
it. Therefore, your scope must be something that is achievable.
Remember, your policy is a living document. You can start out by developing a plan and policy for
changing one division of location of your company, then after seeing how successful that plan is,
expand it to include other divisions and location. Or, you can develop a plan that starts with making
changes in your manufacturing operations, then expands out to include other parts of
your company’s operations.
Establish scope of sustainability policy
Scope of sustainability policy is that the policy application to the organisation and its operations
• the managers, employees, contactors,
• customers, suppliers,
• enterprise locations,
• property, plant and equipment,
• machineries, technology,
• production,
• transportation, distribution
• waste management
• legislation, regulations and standards
• code of practice, ethical principles
• social responsibilities
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Gather information for development of sustainability policies
There may also be regulations, standards, policies, procedures, compacts, agreements or covenants
set by your company, government or industry. These are generally voluntary, but compliance will
ensure that your organisation is following ‘best practice’. For example, there may be energy
efficiency standards set for your organisation sector, a company environmental policy or purchasing
guides published for your industry. The Federal Government also has a ‘National packaging
covenant’ that provides requirements to reduce large-scale packaging.
Important internal sources include:
• Organisational policies and procedures manuals
• Information you glean from your own organisation resource usage levels
• sustainability reports available in-house,
• salesman’s daily reports, performance data,
• internal stakeholders (employees, supervisors and managers) and conversations,
• company meetings, and
• the company sustainability initiatives and report.
Important external information sources include:
• Environmental legislation, regulations and standards
• Industry code of practice guidelines
• Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines in each state and territories
• Industry or company-based standards, guidelines, policies and procedures
• Education institutional research papers and published journals
• range of media coverage related to environmental concerns
• professional/industry associations,
• World’s best practice reports related to sustainability
• ISO standards,
• supply-chain partners,
• Published reports by World Bank, World Economic Forum, Economist Intelligence Unit, CIA,
• government statistics, gazettes, and/or survey findings, e.g. economic and monetary
outlook, investors’ attitudes, organisation and consumer confidence, consumer price index,
• Published market/industry reports by third parties (thinktanks, management consultants,
market researchers, organisation or trade associations, foreign embassies, etc.);
• dialogues with dealers and customers,
• myriad email exchanges,
• newspaper headlines, articles and publications
• TV News, documentaries related to environment
• remarks made by knowledge experts or organisation folks on television or radio broadcasts,
• networking contacts
• faith-based institutions,
• Internet sources (through search engines).
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You can locate information about standards, guidelines, policies and procedures by the following
• asking your relevant work department – compliance, human resources, strategic planning or
procurement for relevant company policies and procedures
• contacting your industry-based association or relevant environment/ sustainability
government department
• undertaking a search of the Internet – for example, typing in “energy efficiency guidelines
for financial institutions” will provide lots of links to industry initiatives and guidelines.
Once you have identified the appropriate documents, you would need to review them to identify
relevant items and then determine if your practices follow the recommendations.
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Analyse information and consultation insights
Broadly defined, a stakeholder is a person, group, or organization directly or indirectly involved in or
affected by a course of action of the organisation or affect the organisation by them.
Key stakeholders include:
• Employees,
• Supervisors,
• Managers /Executives (management team}
• Governing bodies – local, state/ territory and commonwealth
• Supply chain partners,
• Customers,
• Regulatory bodies,
• Financial institutions,
• The local, national and global community
• Consultants, advisory groups,
• Policy makers, and others.
Stakeholder engagement refers to the process by which an organization involves people who may be
affected by the decisions it makes or who can influence the implementation of decisions.
Stakeholders may support or oppose decisions and may be influential in the organization or within
the community in which they operate. In this article we focus on stakeholder engagement methods
and the integration of feedback throughout various policy-development processes.
The type and extent of key stakeholder involvement in policy development may depend on a
number of factors, including the specific context of the policy development (e.g., environmental
sustainability program); the purpose of the engagement; available resources; and the power-sharing
structure of the groups involved.
Therefore, the engagement methods used will likely vary. Several different models describe a type of
continuum, or different levels, of stakeholder involvement in decision making. For example, the
International Association of Public Participation’s spectrum of participation defines five broad levels
of increasing involvement in the engagement process:
1. inform (e.g., fact sheets, websites, open houses),
2. consult (e.g., public comment, focus groups, surveys, public meetings),
3. involve (e.g., workshops, deliberative polling),
4. collaborate (e.g., advisory committees, consensus building, participatory decision
making), and
5. empower (e.g., citizen juries, delegated decisions).
Organisations consider this spectrum of participation when assessing of stakeholder engagement in
sustainability policy decision making.
There are several reasons to consider involving key stakeholders in sustainability policy
development. On a practical level, stakeholder engagement identifies areas of agreement as well as
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disagreement and provides an opportunity to understand more fully what might be driving key
stakeholder differences and their requirements of organisational environmental practices.
Stakeholder input may also help articulate the values of the broader community affected and align
policy recommendations with these expectations. Sustainability policy decisions tend to involve a
large amount of complex, environmental information that may be difficult for laypeople to
If an educational component is provided, stakeholder engagement may also increase sustainability
literacy. In addition, by building mutual understanding, credibility, and trust, policies may be more
likely to be implemented as intended by the key stakeholders.
Reasons to engage stakeholders in sustainability policy issues
• To gather as a valuable source of information, who are able to provide an insight into their
needs and wants, and feedback on their experiences
• To identify environmental issues, concerns and requirements
• To Identify areas of disagreement and determine what is driving those differences
• To help articulate/reflect values of the broader community that is affected
• To share environmental best practice models
• To align practice recommendations with societal needs and expectations
• To improve overall sustainability literacy and understanding of mutual perspectives
• To help execute the implementation of guidelines as intended
• To promote transparency
• To increase the quality and trustworthiness of the policy
The purpose of stakeholder involvement is intended to support decision making and user
involvement in decisions, encouraging their valuable inputs for the policy development practices
• clear, accessible and transparent
• open
• inclusive
• responsive
• sustainable
• proactive
• focused on improvement.
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Levels of stakeholder participation

Level of
Examples Types of stakeholder
Information Information to the public,
hearings, briefings
Those who consider the policy process of low
importance and/or have low influence
Consultation Meetings, focus groups,
Those who consider the policy process of low
importance but have high influence
Deliberation Workshops, task forces,
Those who consider the policy process of high
importance and/or have high influence
Decision-making Joint decision-making Those who consider the policy process of high
importance and/or have high influence
Implementation Responsibilities in work
Those with interest and capacity

Stakeholder perceptions and expectations
The term ‘sustainability’ recalls a range of different perceptions and expectations from different
The following perceptions are typical:
• Traditional investors view a property as sustainable if their investment continues to deliver
sound financial results.
• Ethical investors consider the performance of an enterprise as sustainable if it meets their
environmental and social expectations, as well as providing a good return on investment.
• Organisation owners consider their organisation sustainable if it continues to deliver against
revenue targets, minimises its outgoings and grows in capital value, thereby being attractive
to retain in the portfolio.
• Designers view sustainability as a performance area which demonstrates energy efficiency,
good ‘green’ design, responsible material applications and achieves all users’ requirements
• Tenants view sustainability in the context of accommodation that provides a good indoor
working environment for staff, efficient layout, reduces potential health risks and is
accessible to public transport.
• Regulators consider an enterprise sustainable if it exceeds occupational health, safety, fire
and environment regulatory requirements and can be used to demonstrate sustainable
design and construction to the market.
• Organisation communities associate an enterprises’ impact on its social, environmental
visual and physical amenity as a measure of sustainability
• Members of the general community expect organisations to ‘do the right thing’ and reduce
its contribution to major environmental and social issues such as adapting to climate change
and water conservation.
• Consumers display their willingness to pay a premium for sustainable products, and also
their inability to purchase the goods that meet their needs.
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Develop and document sustainability policies according to
organisational processes
Energy conservation policy
Conserving energy is one of the most effective ways to work towards sustainability. It saves the
company money while helping the environment. Investing in energy-saving devices is a good start
that will pay itself off quickly. Automatic light switches, smart power strips, and LED light bulbs
conserve energy and save money. You can opt for laptops instead of desktops, as they save energy
and money as well. Set up their sleep mode, too, to save even more.
Elsewhere, you can find where appliances or systems are using unnecessary energy. Storage rooms,
for instance, may not need temperature controls.
Water conservation policy
Water is another important factor in sustainability. The biggest culprit in terms of wasting water is
the bathroom. The toilets and faucets let a significant amount of water go down the drain, and with
it, money. Low-flow toilets and faucets conserve water so that they do not require as much per-use.
Remember that you can install these kinds of faucets in the kitchen, too. And with these new
devices, you’ll save more money and water.
Employee engagement policy
Engaging employees is a productive way to get everyone involved in the movement. Employees can
work toward goals that help the mission statement and company culture.
Engagement provides employees with a chance to be sustainable themselves. So, a recycling
program or a friendly competition to conserve energy allows for a group bonding experience that
helps the environment. The workplace can also reward employees for their sustainable acts. For
instance, taking alternative commuting methods like biking or walking could warrant rewards.
Something like an electric commuter bike provides an efficient and sustainable way to travel.
Employee training or information sessions about sustainability can raise awareness, too. Getting
employees involved can take on these and so many other forms.
Paperless office policy
Going paperless is something that can save time and money. First, you’ll want to invest in a digital
system that can help keep the workplace organized. With a company knowledge base as your
platform, employees can store data, information, to-dos, client information, revenue, expenses, and
more, all in one place for easy access from any location.
With a digital system, your workplace can ditch as much paper as possible. Digital platforms make
communicating and sending documents easier and more efficient. They reduce the costs of paper
and printing as well. By going paperless, you conserve on the paper you use, which helps the
environment. If you do need to use paper, make sure it’s recycled.
Reduce, reuse, recycle policy
Work to reduce workplace waste. Reducing your waste includes removing all disposable and singleuse products from the kitchen. These things could be plates, cups, K-cups or coffee pods, and
more. Instead, opt for reusable silverware and dishware. These quickly pay themselves off, as you’ll
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no longer need to buy disposable items regularly. Reusable kitchenware will last for a good
while. Recycling is one of the biggest tangible acts employees can achieve together. You’ll want to
make sure you have proper signage so that people know what to recycle and where. Paper recycling,
waste, compost, and electronic waste all have different processes and must be separated.
Electronic waste consists of things like computers, monitors, ink cartridges, wires, and more. You can
provide a bin to recycle these and take them to your nearest e-waste recycler or places like Best
Carbon footprint policy
There are many services and sites online that offer carbon footprint calculations for free. These sites
will break down your usage and emissions with the information you input. From there, you can use
the information to take appropriate steps in reducing your carbon footprint if possible. Rewarding
employees for walking or biking to work helps reduce carbon footprints. Knowing where your energy
comes from can help, too. If you are looking to take a big, impactful step, you could switch your
energy source to a renewable one, like solar.
Plants policy
Something simple and effective you could do is place different plants around the workplace. This is a
nice way to spruce up the place and add some green. It helps reduce air pollution, too, as the plants
take in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. Plants also bring happiness and productivity benefits as
well. Plants show that something small can go a long way.
Give back policy
You can give back to the community and the environment in greener ways. Things like community
service projects, environmental fundraisers, or other events help show your company’s dedication to
sustainability and helping the environment. Giving back also entails employee engagement.
Everyone in the workplace can come together to give back through volunteering, raising money,
throwing charity events and more.
Local economies policy
Who your company chooses to support can reflect on its goals and values? Try to support local
organisations and economies as much as possible. Furthermore, work with the organisations you
know have green initiatives and are working towards sustainability. Whether it’s the supply chain,
hosting events or going out to lunch, local organisations can always benefit from the support. They
are typically more sustainable than the bigger corporations, but you should check to make sure their
goals line up with your company’s. You can also screen your suppliers to compare their social and
environmental impacts.
Policy intent
1. ORGANISATION will develop guidelines for staff, volunteers and users to adopt sound
environmental work practices, and adequate training will be provided to ensure these
practices are carried out.
2. ORGANISATION will act responsibly to correct incidents or conditions that endanger health,
safety, or the environment. It will promptly report any such incidents to the relevant
authorities, and inform affected parties as appropriate.
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3. ORGANISATION will use all reasonable endeavours to meet or exceed all applicable
government requirements and voluntary requirements generally observed in its field, and
will, in addition, adhere to the more stringent requirements of its own environmental policy.
4. In order to continually improve its environmental management system ORGANISATION will
use reasonable endeavours to conduct audits and self-assessments of its compliance with
this policy.
5. ORGANISATION will maintain an open and honest dialogue with staff, volunteers,
stakeholders, and the public about the environmental, health and safety performance of its
operations and services.
6. ORGANISATION will use reasonable endeavours to ensure that every employee, volunteer
and contractor is informed of and expected to follow this policy and to report any
environmental, health, or safety concern to management so that prompt action may be
Policy Statement
(ORGANISATION) is committed to improving the sustainability performance of the organisation
through promoting a culture of sustainability, managing our operations in a manner that minimises
our environmental and social impacts and enabling the integration of sustainability principles and
practices into research and community engagement.
The organisation will meet this dedication by:
• Ensuring maintainability is reflected in organisation key reports.
• Developing a yearly Sustainability Reporting structure.
• Having an environmentally sustainable aware culture, where responsibility is assigned and
• Incorporating the standards of Ecologically Sustainable Design (ESD) into all capital and
framework ventures.
• Undertaking research, which will create and reinforce provincial associations that address
reasonable improvement.
• Partnering with the group to react to the local requirements for a supportable future and
give administration in our area
• Providing a safe and healthful workplace;
• Being an environmentally responsible neighbour in our community;
• Conserving natural resources by reusing and recycling;
• Using, in our own operations, processes that do not adversely affect the environment;
• Ensuring the responsible use of energy throughout the organisation;
• Participating in efforts to improve environmental protection and understanding;
• Taking steps to improve environmental performance continually;
• Conducting rigorous audits, evaluations, and self-assessments of the implementation of this
The main part of the supportability approach will be comprised of the objectives and targets your
organization recognized. These will act as a guide or guide for maintainable activities pushing ahead
as an association. In any case it is critical to obviously express your dedication and aims as an
organization in the accompanying courses: Commitment to constant change as an association:
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Example Statement: (ORGANISATION) is focused on setting up, advancing, keeping up and enhancing
a culture of manageability and ecological obligation by staff, our production network, and more
extensive partners.
It shall be the responsibility of the Board to establish and maintain policies and procedures and to
bring these procedures into effect.
It shall be the responsibility of the CEO to ensure implementation of these policies and procedures.
Policy items that reflects the organisation’s commitment to
Policy items that reflects the organization’s commitment to sustainability as an integral part of
organisation planning and as an organisation opportunity may include:
• Switch-off lights and equipment when not being used;
• Prefer low energy equipment when buying new items, including considerations of cost and
• Actively reduce the use of disposable and consumer goods;
• Favour the purchase of sustainable goods and services, office and catering supply, giveaways
and merchandise;
• Comply with the legislation concerning waste disposal;
• Take action to reduce the amount of (non-refillable) plastic bottles of drinking water for
office use;
• Separate all materials which can be recycled and organise them for their collection and
proper disposal;
• Use products twice or three times when possible;
• Avoid harmful or hazardous products or products which need, and give preference to
environmentally friendly alternatives;
• Set copy and printing machines by default to double-sided printing;
• Reduce transport-related impacts by telework, tele/video meetings, work-at-home policies
or other means;
• Encourage employees to use environmentally conscious methods of transport when
commuting to work, i.e. walking, cycling and public transport;
• Provide environmental guidance, training and information to all employees;
• Encourage employee involvement.
• Continually improving the environmental management systems that mitigate direct
environmental impacts, reduce our use of natural resources and prevent pollution of our
built estate.
• Integrating environmental considerations into organisation decisions in line with
commitment to environmental sustainability.
• Using sustainable practices in property design and property management.
• Setting targets on key aspects of our environmental performance and reviewing them
periodically. We will communicate proactively and openly about our environmental
commitments and performance.
• Reducing carbon emissions from our own operations by investing in energy efficient
buildings and technology, improving our energy management, managing our organisation
travel and influencing colleagues’ behaviour.
• Managing indirect environmental and social impacts in lending through the Barclays
Environmental and Social Impact Risk Standard, sector specific lending guidance and through
our commitment to the Equator Principles.
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• Managing indirect impacts in the supply chain by collaborating with key suppliers to secure
an improvement in our environmental performance and their own. Our assessment of
suppliers within the sourcing process assigns appropriate weighting to their environmental
performance issues.
• Raising our employees’ awareness of environmental issues, encouraging environmentally
responsible behaviour and providing appropriate training to enable them to play a full role in
implementing our environmental policy.
• Engaging with industry groups and non-governmental organisations in order to contribute
positively and proactively to environmental sustainability in organisation.
Procedures for the reduce, reuse and recycle environmental sustainability program
Want to help the environment? The most effective way is to reduce your waste before it becomes
• Inform yourself about the environmental impacts of products. If not satisfied, search for
better alternatives;
• Bulk buy when possible, but do not waste;
• Choose products with less packaging, recyclable or reusable packaging;
• Carry reusable shopping bags or boxes;
• Avoid unnecessary plastic bags;
• Re-use plastic bags and all types of plastic containers;
• Print on both sides of the paper to reduce paper wastage;
• Use electronic mail to reach out to people instead of sending paper mail.
• Papers for printing;
• Rechargeable batteries rather than single-use batteries and ask the local council about; how
to dispose of batteries properly;
• Glass bottles and jars, plastic bags, aluminium foil and take away food containers repeatedly
before recycling or disposing of them.
• Carry lunches in a reusable container rather than disposable plastic wrappings.
• Recycling recovers materials used in the home or in offices (and any type of communal
environment) for other use. Recycling comes after reducing and reusing.
• Why do we need to recycle?
• Recycling has environmental, economic and social advantages;
• Recycling generates civic pride and environmental awareness and helps prevent
environmental pollution;
• Recycling conserves raw materials used in industry therefore preserving natural resources;
• Making products from recycled ingredients often uses much less energy than producing the
same product from raw materials, it is more cost efficient;
• Recycling reduces the amount of material dumped in landfill sites and prevented from
becoming rubbish.
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Present the sustainability policy and procedures
Sample presentation points
The organisation environmental sustainability strategy department recognises the long-term
changes needed to integrate environmental outcomes into business operations.
Consistent with putting the company and their needs at the centre of the service system, and
responsibly managing infrastructure and resources, a number of strategy initiatives aim to improve
• energy performance;
• Supply chain;
• products and materials use;
• Office waste,
• building waste;
• reduce costs, and
• improve comfort for employees and stakeholders – an important step in managing
environment risks and financial initiatives.
Environmental projects and initiatives are being implemented in four areas:
• improving client wellbeing through sustainability
• corporate social responsibility
• sustainable infrastructure and asset management
• Sustainable leadership and culture.
The department is committed to the protection of the environment and to continual improvement
in the management of our operations, to reduce our impact. The policy recognises the link between
the health and wellbeing of the environment and the health and wellbeing of Australian.
Follow bellow the new workplace environmental sustainability policy.
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Incorporate implementation and continuous improvement
processes into sustainability policies
Organisational teams need to work well together, utilize the strengths of each of the team members
and use a process that is repeated over and over to achieve desired sustainability for the
organisation. The following continuous improvement cycle used repeatedly will lead to a new
“chemistry” within the organization so that the culture begins to change to one of continuous
improvement for resource efficiency.
Benefits of adopting continuous improvement
Continuous improvement processes allow organisations to uncover problems and find ways to fix
them. Small, positive changes made over time can dramatically impact a organisation’s overall
process. Here are a few ways continuous improvement can benefit your organisation over time:
Increased productivity & profits
By incrementally improving processes, your organisation will start seeing a much higher product per
input. This, as a given, makes your entire organization more efficient, which finally translates into
higher profits.
Employee morale and accountability
Oftentimes, your employees can have a lot of ideas on how to improve processes or products. A rigid
organizational structure, however, can shut them down and kill their motivation. In a organisation
with the culture of continuous improvement, on the other hand, every employee is key to
organizational growth. Allowing your employees to walk the extra mile and contribute to progress
makes them feel valued, increasing overall morale and accountability.
Greater agility
An organization has to be changing at all times to keep up with the competition. If your employees
are used to change on a regular basis, they won’t be phased during times of crisis and change.
How continuous improvement works
Getting your organisation used to continuous improvement isn’t easy. You can’t just go up to your
employees one day and tell them “the organisation will function differently from here on out.”
Making any kind of change in an organization is hard, and this is especially true if you are doing
something so major. But of course, you need to start somewhere. First things first, you’ll need to let
your management know about the initiative. Meaning, any suggestions on improving organisation
processes will be welcomed by the management. Then, you’ll need to allow for the establishment of
organisation process improvement initiatives. Once someone suggests a plausible way to improve a
process, you will need to assign an individual or team (depends on skills needed to change the
process) in charge or improving it.
The 5-step continuous improvement cycle
Creating a continuous cycle is a hard journey but breaking it down and taking it one step at a time
(and taking each part one step at a time) will be rich and rewarding for organisations.
Step 1: Define
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1. Define the target process for resource efficiency
2. Organize and empower an improvement team
3. Describe the issues, concerns or opportunities
4. Collect current resource usage performance data
5. Create a process map for improvement of resource efficiency
Step 2: Identify
1. Identify the organisational units, operations and resource usage data
2. Define the process inputs and outputs
3. Define the process improvement requirements
4. Identify wastes and value-added activities
5. Generate a list of potential improvements
Step 3: Select
1. Establish desired performance goals of resource usage levels
2. Prioritize the potential solutions for resource efficiency
3. Establish the selection criteria for resource usage
4. Select the best solution(s) for resource efficiency
5. Define the desired process
Step 4: Implement
1. Develop an action plan to achieve the resource efficiency goals
2. Develop process performance metrics
3. Document the solutions(s)
4. Test the changes
5. Implement per the action plan
Step 5: Evaluate
1. Establish ongoing feedback
2. Measure progress per the action plan
3. Compare results with desired performance resource efficiency goals
4. Determine corrective actions that need to be taken
5. Repeat the cycle to define new opportunities
The key to really being successful using this process is the very last step – going back to the
beginning and looking for new opportunities. Without this, it is a one-time change, not continuous
improvement. All too often, organisations declare victory when a change is complete and sit back for
the new status quo to set in rather than taking another look at things to find more opportunities.
By using this cycle on a formal basis over and over as problems or opportunities are addressed in the
organization, inherent use of the cycle will begin to occur since people will become accustomed to it
and the culture of the organization will begin to embrace the idea of continuous improvement. This
resulting chemistry that begins to develop will be unseen and unquantifiable but will provide an
edge for the organization so that it can succeed within itself and against the competition.
Whether a organisation is going down the path of developing sustainability policies and procedures,
lean enterprise performance, implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) organisation
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system, or making improvements in some part of the organization, this five-step cycle can be quite
The PDCA Cycle
One of the most popular process improvement tools is the “Plan Do Check Act” cycle (PDCA). This
cycle is often credited to Dr. William Edwards Deming and Walter Shewhart. This four-step model is
often shown as a circle because continuous improvement is a process that should be repeated. Here
is a closer look at each of the steps of the PDCA Cycle and what they involve:

PDCA Process
Plan In this first part of the cycle, you will identify the opportunity present and create
a plan for improvement. You can begin by:
• defining the problem,
• outlining the opportunity present,
• brainstorming ideas, and developing a plan.
You should also state what your desired outcome is once your problem is
Do Now that you have identified a possible solution you need to implement this
plan on a smaller scale. This will allow you to test your solution and figure out
whether your changes achieved your desired outcome. Testing your solution in
this way will be a good way to see if it works or not without making any major
Check During this stage, you will compare your results to the expected outcome you
outlined in the planning phase. If your expected outcome was not achieved, you
should start the cycle over again. If it does work, you can continue to the fourth
stage of the cycle.
Act During the final stage, you will implement your solution on a wider scale.
However, keep in mind that PDCA isn’t a one-time initiative. Whenever there’s
an opportunity for improvement within the organisation, you will need to repeat
the process.

Kaizen is a Japanese word that means “change for the better.” The methodology was first used
during the World War 2 by Japanese organisation men, eventually spreading around the world.
Masaaki Imai, a Japanese management consultant helped spread awareness of the Kaizen
methodology in his book, Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success.
To establish a culture of continuous improvement, he recommends using 2 types of processes:
1. Quality Teams and
2. Kaizen Corners.
The first is a team of experts specializing in process improvement through statistical tools and
software. They are for the type of improvements that you need expertise on and not something the
average joe can just suggest.
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Kaizen Corners, on the other hand, is a place where every single employee can hand in suggestions
on how to improve processes. Masaaki recommends splitting the implementation of a Kaizen Corner
into three stages…
• Stage One – All suggestions made by employees are considered and implemented. This is to
show the team that everyone’s input will be valued.
• Stage Two – Employees are trained on how to properly analyse current processes and make
better suggestions.
• Stage Three – Offer an economic incentive for employees to contribute towards process
Once you have enough suggestions, you can start improving the processes.
Continuous improvement tracking (CIT) is part of an overall continuous improvement model.
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Six Sigma’s DMAIC methodology
Lean Six Sigma is simply a process for solving a problem. DMAIC is a project methodology with five
phases; Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control. These steps are used to help ensure that
improvements are data-driven, measurable, and repeatable.
The DMAIC improvement cycle is an effective technique for structured change management. The
emphasis on measurement and analysis helps ensure that opportunities for improvement are
executed in a way that ensures the most positive impact.
Within the Six Sigma method, the overall model is DMAIC (define, measure, analyse, improve, and
control). What’s important about this model as it applies to tracking is its closed-loop nature. As
improvements are defined and implemented, selecting appropriate metrics is critical so that
improvements can be tracked and verified.
Tracking tools need to be responsive enough so that they can detect the effectiveness of the
improvements as well as the unintended consequences. Many tools are available and can be used to
implement CIT, including control charts, histograms, trend analysis, etc.

DMAIC Project methodology description

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Define The Define phase is all about selecting high-impact opportunities for improvement and
understanding which metrics will indicate project success. During this phase the leaders
will perform activities such as:
• identifying the improvement opportunity,
• outlining the scope of the project,
• estimating the project impact, and
• creating a team.
Measure During the Measure phase, existing processes are documented and a baseline is
established. Critical activities at this point include (but are not limited to) developing
the methodology by which:
• data will be collected to evaluate success, and
• gathering, plotting, and analysing current state data.
Analyse The goal of the Analyse phase is to find and validate the root causes of organisation
problems and ensure that improvement is focused on causes, rather than symptoms.
Doing this includes, in part,
• developing a problem statement,
• completing a root cause verification analysis,
• designing measurable improvement experiments, and
• developing a plan for improvement.
Improve Once you reach the Improvement phase, it is time to determine exactly which steps will
be taken and begin to roll out the changes that analysis has prescribed. In this stage, it’s
common to:
• generate and evaluate solution ideas,
• determine expected solution benefits, and
• communicate solutions to all stakeholders.
Control The objective of the last stage is to develop the monitoring processes and procedures
that will ensure long-term success. To do so, you will need to do things like:
• verify reduction in failures due to the targeted root cause,
• determine if additional improvement is necessary to achieve the project goal,
• update your Standard Work documentation, and
• integrate lessons learned.

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Section 2
Implement workplace sustainability policies
Present workplace sustainability policies and implementation
processes to key stakeholders
All organisations need to develop and communicate policies. In fact, organisations are developing
policies all the time but they might not know it. This is because decisions are being made all the time
in regard to new situations, and often where there is no previous policy. Such decisions are made by
people who have the appropriate authority and capacity such as managers, committee members,
board members, the executive, etc.
When decisions are made about what actions must be taken in certain situations, it is necessary that
they are:
• Written down and recorded for future reference
• Communicated to all persons who need to be aware of the new policy
Methods for communicating policies
When a policy is put into writing it can be communicated in a variety of ways including:
• Put on noticeboards
• Sent to the membership by email or in a letter
• Put on the organisation’s website for download
• Displayed in a newsletter
• Placed on the back side of forms such as the membership form
• Inserted into a “member’s handbook”
• Made available in a policy manual kept in the organisation’s office
Present workplace sustainability policy
Promote workplace sustainability policy, including its expected outcome, to key stakeholders. Inform
employees about this policy and the service’s approach to environmental sustainability through:
• information sessions,
• networking activities
• media releases, editorials, web pages
• presentations
• social media platforms
• photo/poster displays and newsletters etc.
Design a poster outlining the key principles of environmental sustainability, for display in the foyer of
the service. This may include a charter of principles and key targets to be achieved. Become involved
in community events such as sponsorship or support community initiatives, Earth Hour, World
Environment Day and Clean Up Australia Day. Make sustainability a way of practice.
The following five tips to better facilitate a sustainability policy and procedure is a good way to
1) Add a green section to your newsletter. Integrating sustainability tips in your
communications plan can help spark and reinforce green behaviour. Suggestions for
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waste reduction, lower energy use and recycling programs can be a simple yet effective
addition to facility-wide announcements.
2) Discuss sustainability goals. Have conversations with tenants and occupants to support
sustainability on an individual level. Find ways to facilitate what they are already doing
and hope to do in the future.
3) Share sustainability successes. If you are able to find ways to improve energy usage,
reduce waste or win any sustainable recognition, share these successes. Doing so sends
a positive message to building occupants about maintaining an efficient environment.
4) Improve your signage. Green features serve little purpose if nobody knows they exist.
Make sure they are clearly visible for use. Provide examples of easy-to-locate bike racks
and a list of acceptable materials for recycling next to bins.
5) Host a recycling event. An event that engages building occupants and the rest of the
community can provide a successful means to reduce waste, especially if people can
drop off items that are more difficult to recycle, such as batteries, LED light bulbs and
old computers and printers
Communicate the sustainability policy
Dear Mr. (Stakeholder name)
We would like to inform you that we have developed the sustainability policy and procedures
considering the global and national needs along with our consultation process to identify your
needs. We also have considered the requirements of triple bottom line and a good corporate
citizenship serving the communities.
Our strategy starts with 3R program – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Our policy is attached herewith and
made available in our website, newsletter and the organisation’s Intranet.
Target dates for initial implementation are XX of month 20XX to XX of month 20XX. Target numbers
and contact details of the person responsible for the program, in this case the sustainability project
manager, are all duly attached to this email.
In case of any queries please direct your contact to the sustainability project manager.
Kind Regards,
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Identify and source resources required to implement
sustainability policies

Sustainability policy initiative Resources required to implement
Implement a recycling program
Establish a recycling program within your office. From the kitchen
area to your workspaces, provide education on responsible waste
disposal through clear signage on designated waste stations to
help your people distinguish between what items belong in
recycling, compost, and in the trash bin.
You can also look into the safe removal and donation of old
computer parts and other items unnecessarily taking up space in
your workplace to a local organization supporting the ethical
recycling of electronics.
Plastic bins for each location
Education and training programs
Information sessions
Conserve energy within the office
Turning off the lights and switching off electronic equipment
around the office during off-hours will help to conserve energy
resources as well as save your company a significant amount on
your electric bill. Install energy saving lights, equipment and
Ensure that your workplace has communicated your policy around
reducing energy consumption at their desks and around the office
and provide suggestions such as shutting off their computers at
the end of the work day and keeping the lights off when a meeting
room is not in use.
Energy saving lights, equipment and
Education and training programs
Information sessions
Promote a paperless office
Digital and cloud computing solutions have enabled companies to
become more collaborative, streamlined, efficient, and yes, green
From using desktop applications such as Microsoft Office and
Google Drive for coordinating work projects to investing in digital
HR and payroll software to handle workforce management, paper
and ink are swapped out for an eco-conservative alternative.
Subscriptions for cloud computing
Technology (software) subscription
Education and training programs
Information sessions
Support green vendors
Opt to do business with green-friendly brands and companies.
Conduct research into vendors of interest to learn more about
their sustainability efforts and see if they align with your
company’s own vision and values regarding environmental impact.
Education and training programs
Information sessions
Reduce by reusing
Discourage this wasteful habit from your employees
by encouraging the use of reusable coffee mugs, along with
reusable water bottles. You can promote this initiative in office by
offering company merchandise items such as travel mugs and
Education and training programs
Information sessions

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stainless-steel water bottles, and also by incentivizing the program
by doing a monthly gift card draw for team members who use
their reusable mugs for an entire week.
Invest in office plants
Placing plants around the office can help to beautify your
workspaces, uplift the overall atmosphere of your workplace, and
reduce stress and anxiety for your workforce. Indoor greenery can
boost oxygen levels and remove harmful pollutants such as carbon
dioxide and formaldehyde.
Investments on plants
Conserve human energy
This may not be an idea that readily comes to mind when
considering environmental practices, but the wellbeing of your
people is crucial to the healthy habits of your organization.
Mindfulness is just as important.
Consider that sustaining healthy and energetic employees will be
beneficial to your company’s overall productivity. Help to keep
your team happy and energized by establishing a safe, non-toxic
environment at all times. It can start by providing sustainable and
nutritious options, such as organic fruits and vegetables.
Encourage sustainable transportation
Support your team members in taking alternative modes of
transportation to and from the office—such as walking or
carpooling with fellow colleagues—during the work week. Your
company can offer transit subsidies to employees who commute
to work as a benefit. Additionally, if it is not mandatory for your
people to be in the office from Monday to Friday, consider cutting
out their commute time during the week by allowing employees to
do remote work from home on occasion.

Support implementation of workplace sustainability policies
As a leader, commitment for sustainability of the organisation and support for its implementation
are the keys for achieving sustainability targets set by the sustainability policy. For every company
like Unilever and Wal-Mart that has successfully embedded sustainability into their core
organisation, there are many others that are struggling with the implementation of corporate
sustainability strategies. To be sure, every company presents a unique case and requires a
comprehensive review of its strategy, operations and goals to advance sustainable practices. There is
no single path to adopt sustainability, but critical steps exist that can help to successfully integrate
sustainability into a organisation strategy. This post will focus on these steps, essentially creating a
roadmap for the development and implementation of a corporate sustainability strategy.
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Raising C-suite awareness of sustainability benefits is a critical initial step before even creating a
roadmap. Some progress can be reported on this issue, as more CEOs are aware of the benefits of
implementing corporate sustainability. According to MIT Sloan’s 2012 Sustainability and Innovation
Global Executive Study, 48% of CEOs responded that they had changed their organisation model to
incorporate sustainability; of those, 46% reported that sustainability added to their bottom line.
Corporate sustainability demands a broad view of issues and impacts, as well as a working
understanding of what the company does and how it does it. Embedding sustainability means joining
the two together through a series of concrete steps.
1. Understand sustainability and recognize what it means to the company
As a first step, it is important to define what sustainability means for every area in the company and
to identify its benefits. From investment decisions, developing new products or services to changing
procurement practices, sustainability has an increasingly central role in these decisions. Coca-Cola is
one of the companies cantering its investment decisions on sustainability. When considering the
development and location of new production plants, water sustainability has been now included as a
key factor. Sanjay Guha, president of Coca-Cola Great Britain says “potential markets and ease of
distribution were once the only key factors. Now it is the long-term supply of water.” In order to
understand where sustainability efforts should be concentrated in a company, it is necessary to
identify those issues that have the biggest impact and are most relevant to the organisation and to
2. Engage with stakeholders
Depending on its line of organisation, a company’s impact can vary among stakeholders. Generally,
companies engage with the most influential groups, keeping close ties and a constant dialogue.
However, engagement can happen on different levels and should respond to expectations from both
sides. Different levels and methods of engagement bring benefits to both companies and
stakeholders and can be translated into more sustainable practices. Bonnie Nixon, Director of
Environmental Sustainability at Hewlett Packard explains, “allowing stakeholders to honestly critique
us pushes us to improve our programs and helps us develop our thought leadership platforms.” In
the same way, Procter and Gamble has benefitted through the engagement with local communities
around the world by finding alternative uses for its waste materials. Through employee engagement,
Kraft Foods has developed a model where employees contribute with ideas and viable plans to
reduce waste while helping to reach the company’s waste reduction targets.
3. Set goals and commitments
Once key environmental, social and governance issues have been identified and engagement
methods for each stakeholder group have been defined, efforts must focus on reducing risks and
seizing opportunities around these issues cantered on sustainable practices. Whether driven by cost
reductions, innovation or improved financial performance, sustainability commitments and goals
need to be established.
For Wal-Mart, most of its commitments and goals on sustainability are focused around the use of
renewable energy and the adoption of energy efficiency. Initiatives in these areas have resulted in
the recognition of Wal-Mart as the largest on-site green electricity generator in the U.S. and have led
to cost savings of over $500m USD a year. Another example is United Airlines. The airline aims to
reduce its environmental impact through the participation of all its suppliers in its Sustainable Supply
Chain initiative.
While companies like Wal-Mart and United Airlines support for a complete transformation of their
organisations, small companies are setting goals and commitments according to their scope of
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action. Initiatives mainly focus on cost reductions from energy use, waste management and
commuting practices, as well as social actions in the community like local development projects and
volunteering campaigns.
4. Establish systems and processes
Once the goals are established, specific systems and detailed processes need to guide the
implementation of each initiative. Throughout the design, processes and policies in place must be
taken into consideration and collaboration among areas encouraged. At this point, gaining executive
commitment is crucial. The appointment of an internal sustainability champion as the main driver of
sustainability and the development of a successful employee engagement model are also good
practice. According to the 2012 Report of Sustainability Leaders by VOX Global and Net Impact
Berkeley, 78% of respondents say top management was a key contributor to embracing
sustainability. However, 81% identified their colleagues across the company as primary drivers of
Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan was launched in 2010. Under the leadership of its CEO Paul
Polman, this ten-year sustainability plan has already accomplished considerable progress in its first
two years. Under the umbrella of its comprehensive overall sustainability strategy, Unilever is
utilizing its wide array of brands to target distinct social issues, invest in sustainable technologies and
change consumer behaviour. Unilever has also accomplished to fully embed sustainability across the
company and to successfully engage external actors. Besides the appointment of a Chief
Sustainability Officer in 2012, the company’s management structure includes a Sustainable Living
Plan Steering Team, a group of external specialists in corporate responsibility and sustainability
known as the Sustainable Development Group and the launch of the “Small Actions, Big Difference
Budget” which finances employees ideas based on environmental benefit and financial return.
5. Track progress, communicate actions and meet expectations
Lastly, it is important to set a system that measures the performance towards each goal. Defining
key performance indicators to meet the identified goals will allow to detect areas for improvement
and will gather relevant data to track progress. Metrics and indicators are also central for the
reporting and communicating activities of the company. Internally, the availability of data
contributes to the prioritization of issues and initiatives and to promote employee involvement
around sustainability. Externally, collecting data is fundamental for an accountability strategy, to
respond to stakeholders’ expectations and interests and to comply with reporting standards.
Companies reporting under the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines have already embraced the
development of indicators. In addition to these guidelines, the Sustainability Accounting Standards
Board is currently preparing frameworks that will standardize sustainability key indicators per sector.
Alongside these efforts, companies are designing their own systems to measure performance, like
Wal-Mart’s Sustainability Scorecards, which, among other criteria, ranks suppliers according to their
environmental footprint and contributes to Wal-Mart’s performance measurement.
In the end, corporate sustainability needs to adapt to the maturity of the organisation and the
company’s willingness to treat sustainability as a strategic opportunity. These steps are only the
beginning of a process that can eventually transform a company’s entire organisation strategy into a
sustainable organisation strategy.
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Track continuous improvements in sustainability approaches
using recording systems
Continuous improvement is central to good business practice. It is all about ensuring
that sustainability policy is implemented by continuously improving to achieve set targets. However,
all the improvement activities must be recorded for quality and performance review to ensure the
implementation is in the right direction.
The continuous improvement plan and register is used to inform decisions about improvements as
well as provide useful evidence in support of quality evaluations.
Continuous improvement register template
This register uses simple drop-down menus to provide a single view dashboard of all current activity
in Excel sheet.

Date Source of
standard and
indicator of
Status Outcome Review

The sustainability continuous improvement tracking template or worksheet is designed to provide
sustainability project managers and team leaders with the methods required to manage and control
continuous improvements. It is an easy project management tool that can be used to monitor and
track improvement projects from planning to full implementation.
This template runs in Excel, and you can use and modify to best suits your needs. It can easily be
modified to include additional sections if needed. For example, you may want to add an additional
column to indicate the type of the project, whether it is a cost reduction, revenue enhancing, cost
avoidance, customer satisfaction, and so on.
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Improvement track sheet template

Strategy Baseline
Responsible for
(e.g. Nominated
Supervisor etc.)
Improvement Data
During the Year 2020
Quarter 3 Quarter 4
Data Collection
Collect baseline data from energy
and water bills and monitor waste
collection. Use information
gathered to set reduction targets
and evaluate whether they have
been achieved.
Green purchasing
Purchase local products
Purchase recycled products
Purchase energy and water
efficient products
Purchase organic produce
Purchase items with minimal
Purchase chemical-free, green
cleaning products
Purchase formaldehyde-free paint
Waste management
Minimise waste from one-use,
throwaway products (e.g. paper
towels, disposable nappies, wet
wipes) by changing behaviours and
procedures, and using alternative
products. The following are some
Replace paper towels with
individual cloth towels on a peg
located in the bathroom or at each
child’s locker, and washed each
Install a low energy electric hand
Cut paper towels in half to reduce
waste while working towards using
cloth towels or installing a low
energy electric hand dryer.
Replace wet wipes with washable
Adopt green cleaning practices by
using safe and sustainable cleaning
products and methods
Recycle plastic waste glass, paper,
cardboard, foil and metal
Explore the waste hierarchy of
refuse within the educational
program i.e. reduce, reuse, repair
and recycle.
Energy usage
off computers and/or screens
when not in use.

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Turn off computers and electrical
equipment before leaving the
Install and use ceiling fans instead
of air conditioning, when
Close doors and windows when
heating or air conditioning the
building where possible, while
maintaining adequate ventilation.
Strategies must be developed for
indoor-outdoor programs to
enable this to occur.
Turn off fridges that are not in use
during extended holiday periods
(ensure no food remains and the
fridge is cleaned well beforehand).
Turn lights off when not required.
Install light sensors where possible.
Upgrade old appliances with
energy efficient appliances
Water consumption
Install 5,000–20,000-liter water
tanks and consider connecting
these to toilets.
Ensure that water from troughs
and bowls is reused to water the
Use grey water (containing low
salt/phosphate detergents) to
water grass and gardens when
children are not in attendance at
the service
Install water saving taps in
Install dual flush toilets.
Place buckets or watering cans
next to drink stations to collect
excess water.
Encourage staff to walk, cycle or
catch public transport to work,
where possible.
Create prominent, effective spaces
for the storage of bikes and prams
to promote riding and walking to
staff, customers and suppliers

Big Bank Inc. implemented a new electronic deposit and withdrawal system for walk-in customers
after analysing customer satisfaction and transaction effectiveness. The bank had defined the
project to increase speed and accuracy of customer transactions through the use of an electronic
forms system. The system would rely on customers swiping their bank cards and then electronically
checking a few boxes. Then, a form indicating the type and amount of the transaction would be
printed. The project was implemented at several branch banks, and improvement was measured
based on average transaction time and form errors.
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After several weeks, the data showed a marked improvement in capturing the right information
from customers’ cards. The improvement led to fewer errors and decreased the average transaction
However, several new issues were uncovered by analysing the results.
• First, when the transaction printer broke, the entire system would become non-functional,
causing increased transaction times and general customer frustration. This information was
fed back to the team, making printer reliability a key component of the improvement. The
team corrected the problem by duplicating the transaction printers to ensure at least one
working printer at all times.
• Second, much of the printed information on the customers’ transaction slips was being
retyped by the teller. The bank improved the system further by printing a bar code on each
slip. When presented to the teller, the bar code could be used to retrieve all of the
information from the bank’s database. This further increased the system’s effectiveness in
terms of transaction accuracy and speed.
• The final step was that that the bank developed an on-going monitoring process to track the
process and continue increasing efficiency and effectiveness.
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Section 3
Review implementation of workplace
sustainability policies
Review your policies and procedures
Although many individuals tend to view organisational policies and procedures as inflexible and
unchanging, they should actually be living, breathing documents that evolve and change as your
company grows, or new technologies are implemented, or new threats are detected, or your
industry implements new regulations.
Workplace policies and procedures for sustainability work to ensure that your organization is
managing its resources effectively conforming to the standards required by environmental
legislation. Without reviewing your company’s policies, it’s impossible to tell if they are working to
minimize the risk of breaches, identify potential threats, spot suspicious activity, and offer a plan of
action if something does happen.
Outdated policies can leave your organization at risk. Old policies may fail to comply with new laws
and regulations. They may not address new systems or technology, which can result in inconsistent
practices. Regularly reviewing policies and procedures keeps your organization up to date with
regulations, technology, and industry best practices. Policy review ensures that your policies are
consistent and effective.
Reviewing policies and procedures is especially important for high-risk or highly regulated industries
such as healthcare, public safety, banking, and more. But organizations in every industry should
regularly review and revise their company policies.
Review your policies and procedures annually
With so many tasks on your plate every day, it’s easy to overlook a policy review. However, it’s
important to schedule a formal review in your calendar annually. Once a year you should look to
strengthen your company’s sustainability and analyse its effectiveness. However, the policy review
can be ongoing and according to what changes are identified in the implementation process as well
as external macro factors such as legislation and regulations.
By taking the time to review your sustainability policy and procedures you will help ensure your
business’ resource usage measures are working when needed and are consistent with industry best
practices. For high-risk industries such as healthcare, public safety, and financial services it might
even be wise to review your organization’s policies and procedures twice a year. Additionally, you
must review your sustainability organisational policies and procedures when there are major
changes and new legislation and regulations are introduced.
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Document outcomes and provide feedback to key personnel
and stakeholders
Sustainability policy and procedures are developed and implemented to achieve outcomes desired
by the management in line with either national needs, global needs or organisational needs.
Documenting the outcomes of sustainability initiatives is a crucial part of the continuous
improvement cycle of sustainability. The analysis of data collected will enable the organisation to
assess policy performance based on qualitative and quantitative evidence. Outcomes can be
documented in specific sustainability reports, in financial reports, an annual report that includes
triple bottom line reporting, shareholders report, or a report for an external body such as a
regulatory authority. Common report types are outlined in the following information.
• Compliance reports
• Internal audit reports
• Progress reports
• Board reports
Compliance reports are required by regulatory authorities and can be developed from internal
compliance reviews and audits, or other internal recording systems that are set up to generate the
information required. The data collected and the format of the report are prescribed by the external
Internal audit reports are generated from a range of internal records such as workplace inspections
and audits, reviews and breach reports. These reports may be generated internally and targeted for
specific areas of the organisation.
Progress reports may be generated from regular reviews and analyses conducted to assess progress
towards targets and compliance. These reports are used to consider the overall progress and
efficiency of the organisation as a whole, and for each of the relevant departments or operational
Board reports may be provided by senior management to the board of directors. Such reports are
created from a range of records and documentation generated throughout the organisation. These
reports will show legislative compliance, as well as financial savings or expenditure arising from the
sustainability policy.
Provide feedback to key personnel and stakeholders
Some personnel are just better at contributing to implement the policy. While some people carry on
and get distracted by complacency, others stay focused and even help you through continuous
improvement process. Some people start complaining things in the middle of a process while others
seem to be indifferent to the policy initiative.
The documented outcomes of above reports must be communicated to the key personnel and
stakeholders as a feedback of the outcomes of implementation of sustainability policy and
procedures through meetings, newsletters, web pages, presentations, information sessions and even
one on one discussions.
Identify trends requiring remedial action to promote
continuous improvement of performance
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Action to promote continuous improvement of performance
Most organisational leaders would probably agree that achieving real bottom line improvements,
whether in cost savings, improved revenues or least environmental impact, is critical to business
sustainability. The concept of business sustainability is not new, and in fact, has been around for a
long time. Maintaining business operations profitably has always been the goal of
organisation. Today, maintaining business operations profitably with sustainable practices has
become more important than ever.
Organisation sustainability concepts today that are required for continued operations into the future
are quite different than they were just 20 years ago. Sustainability is now a more encompassing and
continuous improvement process enabled by other business improvement efforts. It’s time to
rethink continuous improvement and question the effectiveness of traditional efficiently driven
strategies. Arguing that innovation is much larger driver of business today, it is encouraged to have
a collaborative balance between creativity and efficiency with following actions:
• Customise how and where continuous improvement is applied.
• Question whether processes should be improved, eliminated, or disrupted
• Assess the impact on organisation culture.
The implementation of efforts to improve business operations that are aligned with sustainability
concepts is part of the larger continuous pursuit of business sustainability. Organisational
sustainability leaders today are looking to the triple bottom line and the importance of continuous
economic, social and environmental progress to be the mark progress. Sustainability continuous
improvement requires engagement at all levels as well as a robust management system that
addresses the long-term, incremental nature of culture-based change. Such a system requires
following approach to effectively promote and drive the transformation process through functional
integration and sustainability through actions.
1) Focus on gradual small changes instead of major shifts
The first advice is to focus on small gradual changes rather than large changes. Small changes can be
made quickly, on a daily-basis, and are typically inexpensive. By focusing on small changes, you can
remove barriers from just starting a continuous improvement process. This focus will allow your
team to reap the benefits of their “small wins” right away. As more and more small changes are
applied, your team will see an accumulation of benefits from them. This will give them more
confidence to suggest more ideas.
2) Prioritize ideas that are inexpensive
By going after the ideas that do not require a large amount of investment, you can remove the
financial barriers of your continuous improvement efforts. This process can empower the line
worker to suggest and implement ideas that can improve their working process because they know
that their changes do not need upper management approval. Some ideas such as reducing waste,
eliminating unnecessary steps, and re-organizing in the work processes fall into this category.
3) Gather ideas from the people doing the work
In continuous improvement efforts, organization employees are your greatest asset and should also
be the source of generating new ideas for improvement. No one knows the work better than the
person who performs it every day. As a result, the best person to suggest ideas for improvement and
to implement them is the line worker.
4) Empower employees for improvement
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Although employees play a vital part in the continuous improvement process, it is management’s
role to train and empower them. Most workers are unaware of Lean principles and practices such as
5S, the 8 wastes, value stream mapping, visual management, Kaizen, etc. As a result, they may not
realize that many of the processes that they perform every day and the frustration that they feel at
work are due to unnecessary waste. Additionally, some workers are modest and reluctant to share
ideas. It is management’s role to educate their staff on continuous improvement tools and
techniques that can be applied to the continuous improvement process and to help their employees
overcome any personal or psychological barrier that prevents them from trying out new ideas.
5) Use regular feedback
An effective continuous improvement program needs continuous measurement and feedback.
Before you can start, you need to understand the baselines of your organization’s performance. Only
by understanding and establishing a baseline can you evaluate new ideas for improving upon it. One
effective way of gathering feedback on your continuous improvement efforts is to apply the Plan-DoCheck-Check (PDCA) cycle. The PDCA cycle allows you to scientifically test your experiments. The
cycle ensures continuous improvement by measuring the performance difference between the
baseline and target condition. This gives immediate feedback on the effectiveness of the change. If
the idea was effective, the next cycle of improvement will start with the new baseline and your goal
is to move towards a new target condition.
6) Measure the impacts
Measuring the impacts of your continuous improvement program is the most effective way of
sustaining it. By showing an ROI in your program, you can get more organisational support and
funding for improvement initiatives. Some questions to ask when measuring the impacts of your
improvements include:
• Did the change reduce our resource usage?
• Did the change reduce our costs?
• Did the change increase our revenues?
• Did the change decrease the amount of time required?
• Did the change improve worker’s safety?
• Did the change improve worker’s satisfaction?
• Did the change improve quality?
• Did the change improve reliability?
• Did the change reduce the environmental impact?
• Did the change improve sustainability?
Not all change can be measured quantitatively via a ROI. However, there are always qualitative ways
to document the impact of the change on the organization. By capturing both quantitative and
qualitative impacts of your improvements, you can increase workers’ morale, show your team the
impact that they are making, and recognize star performers.
6) Applying continuous improvement
Applying continuous improvement requires participation from everyone in the organization. Upper
management needs to invest time and money in employee training and empowerment. Managers
need to foster an environment of trust, collaboration, open communication, and a willingness to
experiment. And finally, workers need to be engaged in their work and be challenged to come up
with small gradual improvements each and every day. By applying these principles, your company
will be able to start and sustain your continuous improvement efforts. This will lead to a more
economically competitive organization, more efficient work processes, more satisfied employees
and sustainable organisation.
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Source: Value Streaming –
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Modify sustainability policies to incorporate improvements
Corporate social responsibility is a business approach that incorporates sustainable development
into business practices with the goal of prioritizing social and environmental responsibility. These
business practices involve putting money towards sustainable practices that business partners,
clients, and consumers can feel good about supporting.
The person (policy contact) who has line-management responsibility for the policy area and will
guide the development, implementation and review of the policy to ensure the content of the
sustainability policy is accurate and reflects current sustainability needs and practice. The executive
(policy custodian) who has overarching responsibility for identifying and setting the strategic
direction of the proposed policy and determining the overall context in which a policy might be
developed or revised. Their responsibility extends to how it is implemented and how it is monitored
and reported. The policy custodian is the day-today contact in relation to policy advice, that is, the
position best suited to answer any questions on the application of the policy. The policy contact will
also play a major role in developing, implementing and reviewing sustainability policy with other
policy stakeholders.
If there is sufficient support for the development or review of sustainability policy, it may be
necessary to assemble a team of stakeholders. The makeup of such a team will depend on the
particular policy issue but it should always include representatives from groups that will use and be
affected by the sustainability policy. This will greatly improve the quality of the policy and ensure it
meets the needs of the organisation as a whole. It will also assist with the implementation process
because it promotes more buy-in and feedback from the critical parties.
Incorporate improvements
Organisations implement the sustainability policy by continuously improving sustainability practice.
Initially sustainability policy is developed by consulting stakeholders, conducting research, analysing
internal and external sources of information. However, when you start implementing the policy you
identify certain gaps and start improving using continuous improvement strategies. These gaps may
be identified from the users of the policy. During this stage, you may find certain areas are not
appropriately covered by the sustainability policy and require modification to the policy.
A policy review team may include:
• the policy contacts
• the policy custodian
• staff that are expert in the subject matter
• Governance and regulatory representative/s
• in some instances, consultation with external organisations, experts in environment and/or
critical stakeholders may be necessary to obtain information that helps to identify policy
Modification of the sustainability policy to incorporate improvements requires to follow certain
organisational protocol of policy development process such as:
• Consultation
• Authority to modify
• Organisational policy development process
• Approval process
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• Coordination requirement
• Timings
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