served the energy used by the air compressors but also resulted in fewer leaks and longer life for the manufacturing equipment. “It’s a matter of collect- ing successes you can point to and say,‘This is making a difference,’” says O’Brien-Bernini. Two general rules apply to these types of initial projects. First, they need to emphasize the quantita- tive (that is, the bottom line) in favor of the qualitative (for example, concepts like brand equity) to convince skeptics of the business case. Second, they should in- clude projects that maximize organizational exposure. One effective approach is to help grow the top line, for example, by finding buyers for substances previ- ously considered waste (such as partially cured resins, compost or impure ethylene glycol). Consider a task is to translate high-level commitments into a com- prehensive change program with clearly defined initiatives and hard commercial targets. To make this happen, sustainability leaders in Phase 2 must excel at delivering results, and they must have a strong com- mercial awareness. At the end of this phase, the organization is consciously proactive on sustainability across its footprint and tracks economic, environmen- tal and social metrics over the business planning cycle. The organization must now develop and imple- ment programs that translate vision into a series of discrete initiatives and tangible projects that deliver real change, not just incremental improvement. As such, the sustainability leader must display the fol- lowing two competencies: results delivery and commercial orientation. The leader must be able to translate a sustainability vision into a comprehensive program of targeted initiatives that can be tracked using clear metrics, and must take corrective action when performance falls short of expectations. In 52 MIT SLOAN MANAGEMENT REVIEW SUMMER 2010 SLOANREVIEW.MIT.EDU
addition, leaders must focus and prioritize efforts that generate the most value for the organization over the business planning cycle. The management adage “what gets measured gets done” strongly applies to Phase 2. Although little data and no metrics existed before, there is now a concerted effort to measure and accumulate hard financial, environmental and social data so that the organization can make smarter decisions about various trade-offs. Consider the case of a food products company in Europe. Managers there introduced metrics to track the ratio of packaging material to food mass, and that data initially led to a discussion of whether to increase the container size for a particular product, which would result in pro- portionally less packaging. But a competing metric was the amount of non-natural ingredients in that product. A comprehensive analysis led managers to recognize that by shrinking the container size they could do away with a class of chemical preservatives altogether because the smaller size would result in faster consumption, which would allow for com- pressed expiration dates.
- Summer '17
- MIT Sloan School of Management, MIT Sloan Management Review, Owens Corning