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Corporate Strategy Management


More and more companies want to do something meaningful about sustainable development – and are looking to embed sustainability into their organisation. Neil Rotheroe explains how a new Sustainable Development Management Scheme can make a difference

t is widely accepted that any organisation which decides to implement a management sys- tem does this most successfully if everyone, from top manage- ment down, has bought into the idea and has the same goal in sight, that of a more efficient and effective organisation. When it comes to matters of corporate social responsibility and sustain- able development it is perhaps more vital than ever that initial discussions about implementing a relevant standard are strategically driven by top management and opened to the whole organisation to get all employees inspired and on board.


The concepts of sustainabil- ity and CSR go hand in hand. Sustainability focuses on global social, economic and environ- mental issues, such as climate change, economic competitive- ness and justice in the supply chain, while CSR is the ethical response of a business to these areas of concern. CSR provides a focus on sustainable development at the organisational level, ensuring a business’s future by taking into account the interests of all stakeholders. This could include lowering the carbon footprint

of a particular product to less- en its environmental impact as demanded by consumers, work- ing more closely with suppliers to ensure that waste is driven down throughout

the supply

chain, saving time and money, or by ensuring that all suppliers and business partners are treated in a fair and ethical way.

Clearly any action that doesn’t take into account the concerns of stakeholders runs against the long-term interests of a business through damage to brand and reputation. Poor performance can damage customer relation- ships and significantly impede relationships with trading part- ners and within the supply chain. Organisations that lead the way in CSR matters reap the benefits in business terms.

Companies, including those clients of NQA, are demonstrat- ing that they want to start doing something meaningful about sustainable development and are starting to take a strategic stance in order to embed sustainability into all aspects of an organisation. This has been driven by a number of issues including pressures in supply chains, for example Marks & Spencer driving the sustainable agenda down its supply chain and

30 | Sustainable Business | February 2011

the public sector green procure- ment strategy, fair trade issues and the need to address the press- ing concerns of climate change. To assist them, a new certifiable scheme has been developed: the NQA Sustainable Development Management Scheme (SDMS), which is built around the guid- ance standard BS8900:2006 Guidance for Managing Sustainable Development. The scheme develops this through the provision of an auditable proto- col and scheme-specific NQA guidance. BS8900 is essentially about embedding sustainability at the heart of an organisation. And that is as much about ensur- ing that the organisation itself is sustainable – environmentally, socially and economically – as it is about ensuring that it works to fundamental sustainable devel- opment principles. The standard is underpinned by the guiding principles of integrity, inclusivi- ty, transparency and stewardship. An organisation considering its sustainable development should begin by focusing on looking at these four areas within the wider stakeholder relationship. By doing this, the organisation will be able to identify where its thinking is positioned in relation

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