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Sustainable Development Planning

"Sustainable development (SD) seeks to meet the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." The objective of SD is to achieve a balance between preserving environmental integrity, ensuring social equity and improving economic efficiency. Hence the need for you to demonstrate that SD principles have been met. Development of a Sustainability Plan will help your organization document compliance to SD in keeping with the expectations of your stakeholders who increasingly look at the world through an SD lens.

An SD Plan can be designed to place your organization in a leadership role with respect to environmental, social and economic responsibility so that your key stakeholders, such as employees and clients, support your efforts now and over the long term. You will want to examine how positioning your company as a leader in achieving sustainable development would create a competitive advantage. You will want to consider incorporating international best practices to enhance the image of your organization, maximize profit, develop market analysis tools, and apply a risk management approach to the facets of SD thus minimizing financial and legal risks. Increasingly the public examines proponents’ activities through an SD lens so you will want to examine your activities within your specific context.

A key component of developing the capacity to take on world-class growth is the development of human capital. Hence the need for training and the development of the training of personnel to assure that professional development embraces the SD principles. Expert trainers would initially be made available to support the professional development effort by setting up SD related modules and by training staff in their delivery.

The SD Plan is designed to assure that you meet or surpass both current local legal requirements as well as future international SD requirements such as the International Finance Corporations (IFC) Performance Standards, which are the underpinning of the Equator Principles. This will assure a competitive advantage for marketing your products through the whole value chain from supplier to customer regardless of the jurisdiction where you are operating. It will guarantee that key programs like your Green recycling initiatives unfold in a timely manner and serve as an example, which spreads throughout the organization causing a paradigm shift in the way you do business.

It is widely recognized that by implementing a holistic environmentally sustainability strategy a company’s competitive advantage is increased since risks are addressed thus improving efficiency with the resulting robust triple bottom line. Will your company with a forward-looking SD strategy fair better than a company without one, when faced with a changing competitive landscape? The SD Plan would analyze how sustainability may impact your industry and how you can keep ahead of your competition by implementing SD measures to make your company more efficient and competitive so your efforts should bear fruit.

The SD Plan would include the following steps:

  1. Phase 1 - Assessment and Benchmarking
  2. Phase 2 - Engage and Strategize
  3. Phase 3 - Implement and Measure
  4. Phase 4 - Report and Improve

Phase 1 – Assessment and Benchmarking

Step 1 – Initial Review:

  • Interview key personnel to gain an understanding of the current culture of your company and the drivers for sustainability;
  • Review the current programs and projects in place or underway, including identification of existing policies and procedures that drive current activities including adherence to ISO guidelines;
  • Determine what metrics are being tracked and reported, and the current status of "Green Initiatives" like recycling and other SD related programs;
  • Identify what resources are available to provide support;
  • Determine goals and objectives for the various environmental and social responsibility plans and benchmarking and key performance indicators currently used to assess activities; and
  • Identify the challenges and barriers that may be encountered within your organization and externally amongst stakeholders.

Review Output – a summary of findings on the current SD status and future challenges.

Step 2 – Operational review:

  • Conduct an operational review to understand and evaluate your company's activities and supply chain: suppliers -> plant -> transport -> customer.
  • Carry out an evaluation of baseline performance and associated costs as this relates to:
    1. Use of renewable energy such as solar and wind power;
    2. Waste Management and 3R's – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle;
    3. Electricity production and conservation;
    4. Greenhouse Gas Emissions;
    5. Green building and facilities and potential for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification;
    6. Resource consumption through the whole value chain, particularly water conservation and recycling.

Review output – a summary of findings on operational SD performance would be produced.

Step 3 – Evaluate competitors and similar companies to determine best practices, approaches to SD and potential economic, environmental, and social as well as less tangible benefits such as corporate reputation.

Evaluation output – Competition matrix identifying SD policies of your key competitors.

The Phase 1 report would provide a summary of the findings, including the above mentioned. This will allow an understanding of the current state-of-the-art of your company and of your competitors regarding sustainability programs. It will help establish the baseline for moving forward with a comprehensive SD Plan and vision for the future e.g. Vision 2020.

Phase 2 – Engage and Strategize

  • Create and adopt a Vision or Policy Statement which bridges currents programs with future expectations and provides the rationale for progressing the SD Plan;
  • Set goals and targets and identify key sustainability performance indicators for reporting and tracking in an annual SD report, using the baseline performance data measured in Phase I;
  • Identify criteria for project and program evaluation e.g. IFC standards;
  • Carry out a GAP analysis between practices identified in Phase 1 and objectives determined for Phase 3 and determine the cost-benefit of implementing the SD Plan and set priorities which will assure international competitiveness and SD;
  • Initiate employee outreach and education through your intranet web site and newsletter and other media and integrate an education program to support the SD Plan;
  • S. A. RAMSAY & ASSOCIATES INC. would provide staff for training and set up suitable modules in the various SD related subjects;
  • Encourage buy-in and ownership throughout the organization through media, seminars and training and engagement with stakeholders such as NGOs and universities to help facilitate implementation and broaden support;
  • Assign responsibility for SD Plan implementation actions to a designated manager with a team and budget that would assure implementation with the support of external experts;
  • Develop an SD Action Plan, with designated timelines, with key players so that all stakeholders are clear on the execution and expected results and build this into the HR Performance appraisal procedure for the entire organization, so that this facilitates buy-in.

An SD Policy Statement with OCP Corporate Vision would be developed and the process in arriving at this with the expectations for the SD Plan would be described in a report.

Phase 3 – Implement and Measure

Although the major effort by S. A. RAMSAY & ASSOCIATES INC. would focus on Phases 1 and 2, assistance with SD Plan implementation, working closely with your managers, would be provided, as required, to assure success and timely delivery.

  • Implement the SD Action Plan (programs, projects and systems).
  • Review and revise the Plan periodically to adjust and improve performance based on participant input and changing external expectations e.g. from regulators, banks and other stakeholders, regarding long term economic, social and environmental goals.
  • Measure progress periodically and report via your intranet Web site and Newsletter;
  • Adjust and improve, as required, to meet long-term goals and objectives.

Implementation output – SD Interim Implementation Report with details on the success of the Action Plan and what improvements were made as well as.

Phase 4 – Report

Once the SD Plan matures and reporting yields results, through a one-year period, assistance would be available from S. A. RAMSAY & ASSOCIATES INC. in reviewing current best practice in annual SD reporting. The SD team would be available to assist with the production of a state-of-the-art Annual Report. To conform, if desired, to the Global Reporting Initiative. (GRI) which is a network-based organization that has pioneered the development of the worlds most widely used sustainability reporting framework and which is committed to its continuous improvement and application worldwide (http://www.globalreporting.org/AboutGRI/WhatIsGRI).

  • Produce an annual Sustainability Report so that stakeholders, internally and internationally, are made aware of the “Greening” effort that your company has implemented and the cost efficiencies and community benefits that have been achieved;
  • Provide leadership in your industry by being the flagship for SD initiatives, participate in conferences on “Greening” Projects and align with other industry leaders to develop standards that assure the prosperity and future growth of your industry;
  • Ensure that Senior Management continues to guide the SD effort and that the Board of Directors contributes to the continuous improvement of the SD Plan with input from external experts.

Recommendations for production of a Sustainability Report would be provided as well as production of the Sustainability report, as needed. It would contain the following:


S. A. RAMSAY & ASSOCIATES INC. would be pleased to initiate the SD Planning process. We remain available to discuss, in detail, the requirements for the Phase 1 activities and to assist in the training of your staff and in the development of your company. This will provide the leadership and professional development needed to support the SD Plan in the context of your industry. It is also clear that a key component of sustainability is the economic advantage to be gained from innovation and that efficiencies can be realized which result in a significant competitive advantage.

S. A. RAMSAY & ASSOCIATES INC. can help you implement an effective and efficient SD Plan that is dynamic and which will allow your organization to adapt to a quickly changing environment. The SD Plan will be flexible and simple to understand and thus result in the effective achievement of corporate goals and objectives across all of your operations. It will provide you with the capacity to boldly progress new initiatives with confidence in your staff and their ability to meet SD principles.

Extensive erosion control work was completed on this sandy slope over a natural gas pipeline to assure the integrity of the pipeline and to minimize impacts on the sensitive environment downstream. This was undertaken as a part of the SD Plan in conformity to World Bank standards and demonstrated that advanced environmental mitigation techniques could be implemented even in a very isolated location in a developing country.