In today’s “green” business climate, environmental and social performance are becoming as closely scrutinized as financial performance. A new American Management Association (AMA) seminar focuses on how companies not only can comply, but actually turn sustainability into a competitive edge.
“There’s enormous awareness about environmental and social issues today,” said Bettina Neidhardt, leadership development portfolio manager for American Management Association. “If your company is not accountable about how products are developed; or, if your company harms the environment or exploits a workforce—locally or globally—both reputation and profitability will suffer.”
AMA’s Green Leadership: Implementing Sustainable Strategies seminar will be offered at AMA Executive Conference Centers in several cities in 2008. It was developed to help companies better understand sustainability issues and more easily transform them into improvements to impact their triple bottom lines—economic, social and environmental.
Based on AMA’s Green Leadership seminar, the following are five tips for implementing profitable and successful sustainability initiatives:
- Understand how global trends affect your business, and then analyze, align, and strategize these trends to create your company’s sustainability policy. “What works for one corporation may not work for another, so it’s important to customize your policy,” said Neidhardt.
- Learn how to measure performance and develop a cost/benefit analysis. “This is of the greatest importance,” said Neidhardt. “Very often, something may seem, on the surface, to be too expensive—but further investigation will reveal that it will be much more expensive for you NOT to do it.”
- Identify key internal and external stakeholders—and then enroll and engage them. “Communication is always key—but particularly with a topic such as sustainability—many employees are passionate about this from a professional as well as a personal perspective,” said Neidhardt. “Make sure everyone is aware of company values and that there is proper support from company leadership. Communications should be directive and supportive, and must cascade through the organization.”
- Measure and benchmark energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. “It’s very basic, but a good start is to learn how to read your company’s—or your own—energy bill,” said Neidhardt, “because you’ll probably be surprised at how much energy and money you’re wasting and how easy it can be to make cost saving changes.”
- Be completely honest about your company’s policy. “Organizations that stretch the truth about their products or practices risk being accused of ‘green washing,’” said Neidhardt. “That can come back to bite you and negatively impact your company’s reputational capital.”
AMA’s Green Leadership seminar was developed in conjunction with the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise at Fairleigh Dickinson University. The program will be facilitated by Jeana Wirtenberg, Ph.D., co-founder and director of external relations and services at the institute.
“The future of business is being built on ‘green’ and socially responsible organizations,” said Edward Reilly, president and CEO of the AMA. “Global politics, technology innovation and business expansion are shaping a landscape of tough challenges and vast opportunities. Our seminar will enable managers to meet their goals and measure their ROI so they will be equipped to compete in this new business climate.”
The three-day seminar will be held at AMA Executive Conference Centers in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, in 2008 as well as in other locations throughout the country in 2009. For more information about this seminar please visit AMA’s Web site at American Management Association is a world leader in talent development, advancing the skills of individuals to drive business success. AMA’s approach to improving performance combines experiential learning—learning through doing—with opportunities for ongoing professional growth at every step of one’s career journey. AMA supports the goals of individuals and organizations through a complete range of products and services, including seminars, conferences, Webcasts and podcasts, corporate and government solutions, business books and research. Organizations worldwide, including the majority of the Fortune 500, turn to AMA as their trusted partner in professional development and draw upon its experience to enhance skills, abilities and knowledge with noticeable results from day one. For more information, visit www.amanet.org.