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What Are Your Sustainability Accomplishments

If your company has become a more sustainable and greener business, you should celebrate your success and get recognized for your achievements. Your accomplishments are part of  a powerful and beneficial story you should share with your employees, customers, partners and investors.  As we discussed in our previous article, telling your green story in the right way to the right audiences will improve your reputation, elevate your brand, draw in new customers, attract great employees and promote a more sustainable ecosystem around you.

This article describes the approach we recommend to our Green Business Bureau (GBB) members for sharing their accomplishments and progress as it occurs.

The GBB EcoProfile: Best Practices In Action

The GBB EcoProfile incorporates the best practices of leading companies in using the Mission, Priorities/Commitments, Shared Accomplishments & Measurement approach.  We looked at companies like Patagonia, Google, Apple, Burton Snowboards, and King Arthur’s Flour. They all do an amazing job of telling their story in a way that is inspirational, sincere and credible. We’ve based our EcoProfile on the practices that these sustainability leaders use to communicate their sustainability stories.

Your Online EcoProfile

The online Green Business Bureau EcoProfile is made up of three elements:

Green Story

The EcoProfile Green Story section has two elements: your green mission statement and a list of your highest priority sustainability commitments. These commitments summarize your most important sustainability goals and how you will achieve them.

Certification and EcoScore™

The GBB Certification Dashboard is the well-known foundation of GBB’s program. It summarizes your current sustainable business state and progress, and includes  the total number of EcoPoints(™) accumulated by completing various green initiatives in the GBB library, your GBB Certification level (Member, Aware, Gold, Platinum) and your list of completed green initiatives.

Accomplishments

The new EcoProfile Accomplishments section provides an opportunity for your business to proudly highlight its major sustainability accomplishments, including awards and recognition received, participation in 3rd Party environmental organizations, successful completion of major initiatives and commitments, or major ESG milestones like becoming “Zero Waste” or “Carbon Neutral”.

Share Your Accomplishments with the World

The GBB EcoProfile includes an Accomplishments section to share your company’s green journey progress as it happens. This section is used to communicate everything you’re most proud of including awards, important events, milestones and company accomplishments. It’s also a chance to recognize achievements by teams and individuals.  It’s a great way to engage employees and customers by sharing awards, pictures, quotes, and videos.  It’s also a great way to celebrate success and add color, passion, and detail to your sustainability story.  Your accomplishments are likely noteworthy and impressive, elevating your brand. The EcoProfile Accomplishments webpage  will be discussed in more detail in an upcoming blog.

Best Practices for Defining Sustainable Accomplishments

The following section provides best-practice guidelines for choosing which accomplishments to share, and how to share them. Shared sustainable GBB Accomplishments should (be):

Shared Often

Think of your EcoProfile Accomplishments as an opportunity to publicly take pride in your  company’s ongoing sustainability journey, and a running archive of your sustainable milestones. EcoProfile Accomplishments are the place to tell your company’s green stories in your own words. Don’t be afraid to share intermediate accomplishments or the underlying efforts.

Sustainable Accomplishments – Broadly Defined

To be sure, your company’s GBB EcoProfile is designed to share your sustainability efforts and accomplishments, and not just a place to share general business accomplishments – but sometimes the two overlap, and a great business accomplishment also makes a worthy EcoProfile Accomplishment. For example, if your company is named a ‘best place to work’ for your region or industry, there’s a really good chance that your positive culture of sustainable commitment (at least) partly underpins the accolade. So from that perspective, it’s a fair bet that the ‘best place to work’ accomplishment is a fine example of a sustainable accomplishment – so share away!

Your Story – Not Just A Record of Outside Recognition

While awards, certifications and other recognition from third parties are a great source for EcoProfile Accomplishments, they shouldn’t be the only source. The two questions we hope GBB members answer for themselves before choosing a new EcoProfile Accomplishment are: 1) Does the accomplishment help to demonstrate our company’s genuine efforts to improve its sustainable performance; and 2) Does the accomplishment support our company’s Green Mission and Commitments, and help to ‘tell our green story’? If the answers to these questions are ‘yes’, you’ve found a great accomplishment to share.

Add Color & Detail to Your Completed Initiatives

Well-earned sustainable accomplishments will also commonly mirror the completion of significant GBB initiatives or groups of initiatives – and while earning GBB EcoPoints add to your company’s status, they don’t tell the story of how the initiatives were completed, or why the initiative was prioritized by the business. Sharing the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of your company’s efforts is what makes shared accomplishments such an important part of your company’s EcoProfile – and it’s why GBB so strongly encourages member companies to add their voice to the story.

Specific

Like a well-defined sustainable commitment, your EcoProfile Accomplishments should always be as specific as possible. For example, sharing an accomplishment that touts a vague milestone of ‘reduced office waste’ doesn’t convey the impact of a specific accomplishment of ‘50% reduction in company wide back office paper use’ – with the latter showing a very clear definition of where the reduction came from, along with a precise measurement of the improvement. It’s also worth noting that the GBB system enables members to not only share the headline for each accomplishment, but also a descriptive paragraph section that should be used to provide additional specificity concerning methods, measurement and motivation for each accomplishment.

Grounded In Action

Though this may go without saying, it’s important that sustainable accomplishments are always based on deliberate, genuine effort by your business, and result from those efforts – not chance or factors beyond your control.

Credit Employees

We know that employee engagement and effort is critical in achieving sustainable goals for any business. Without a team to implement business process change, positively inform customers of greener choices, hold peers and managers accountable, drive innovative changes – and myriad other impacts – most company sustainability efforts would be unachievable. It makes sense then, that well-defined sustainable accomplishments will recognize employee contributions in delivering on positive results. Simply put – be sure to praise your team often.

Green Business Bureau Member Examples

Our members continue to amaze us with their commitment to sustainability and their innovative green and social responsibility initiatives.  They lead by example and demonstrate how business can be used as a platform for good.  All of our members are regular companies with businesses to run, and they all do their part in becoming greener, more socially responsible and thoughtful. They’ve created great greener businesses and demonstrated their commitment to sustainability with tangible actions and results.  Sharing their accomplishments helps them celebrate their success and earn the business benefits they deserve.

Here’s one example: Impetus Digital. This GBB member is Toronto based and offers life sciences companies a robust platform for virtualizing team meetings, co-author working groups, training sessions, advisory boards, conferences, and much more. Through a diverse range of synchronous and asynchronous online tools, their clients are able to facilitate discussions, educate, collect insight, and share data reliably without the need to travel.  Here are the accomplishments they recently shared in their online GBB EcoProfile.

Summary

By providing member companies with an easy-to-use online solution for sharing their sustainability story in a credible way verified by a trusted 3rd party, GBB hopes that all of our member companies will use the new EcoProfile tools to articulate sustainability priorities and drivers, share their green mission statement and commitments, and promote their improvements and accomplishments as they progress.

Becoming a truly sustainable business is not easy, but we believe that by sharing your green accomplishments in your own words, your company will further illustrate the way in which its sustainable mission, efforts and accomplishments all align to demonstrate and support company strategy. This true and meaningful commitment to making sustainability an important part of your company’s story will help you earn the benefits that come along with being a leader in sustainability. The GBB Ecoprofile provides the ideal way to tell that story and be recognized as a leader in sustainable business.

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