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The time is now for all companies and businesses to get serious about sustainability. This often starts with establishing priorities and formally writing an environmental mission statement or what we call a “green mission statement”.  A green mission statement becomes the foundation of a company’s sustainability efforts. It provides the organization and its stakeholders with an understanding of what’s most important and what your company can do to protect the natural world and be more socially responsible.

In most cases, your company already has an overarching mission statement. The green mission statement is a supplement – not a new corporate mission statement. Take your normal mission statement (assuming you have one) and consider how that mission can be delivered through the sustainable lens. That is the objective.

Getting Started

Creating and sharing a green mission statement is one of the first prerequisites for GBB green business certification. Companies need to create a mission statement that will capture the company’s green values and culture, engage employees, and rally everyone to become greener and more socially responsible.

Coming up with an official mission statement will hold your organization accountable to a standard and set of priorities. The statement must capture how you will be more socially and environmentally responsible than in the past and get into specifics that are relevant to your industry. By making your commitment to sustainability official via a formal public statement, you are more likely to see continued improvements.

“Green Team” Collaboration

Committing to sustainability may come from the very top, including the CEO and executive team, or from a grass roots employee movement.  Regardless of who owns it, the green owner or green team should create a focused green mission statement that defines how your company will interact with our planet and everyone on it. The green mission statement establishes your priorities, becomes the foundation for policies, and gets everyone on the same page.

The number one hurdle many organizations face when looking to bring sustainability into their company in a serious way is the same obstacle that slows down many new initiatives – executives have a difficult time defining and communicating a road map. They often do not know how to begin the process of making the products and services they provide more environmentally sustainable, but even when they do, they fail to champion the cause. This is where a strong green mission statement becomes crucial.  It clearly communicates what the company already does and what the company intends to do around sustainability and social responsibility and rallies the troops.

Brainstorming Tips

Coming up with a mission statement for your company is often a group exercise facilitated via a brainstorming session. The goal is to capture the essence of your company’s values and sustainability objectives which may entail many dimensions, but try to keep it focused on a few top priorities and core themes. In the end, your mission statement should be:

    • Clear – void of industry jargon and nebulous terms; state specific actions and goals
    • Concise – simple and to the point; short enough to remember and paraphrase
    • Useful – helps explain priorities; rallies employees to do the things aligned with your corporate and green mission statement

There is no one formula for the perfect mission statement, but a green mission statement often includes three parts:

    • Why – Why is sustainability important to us?  What do we believe?
    • Goal – What is our end goal?  What will we do? What do we want to accomplish?
    • Success Criteria – How is success measured? What does our future company look like?
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Read the Complete Guide to Writing a Perfect Green Mission Statement

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