Are your sustainability projects resonating with the business?

  • When seeking funding, environmental and sustainability professionals must clarify how their role and the proposed project fit within the business' strategy.
  • This article provides a checklist for those seeking funding for sustainability and environmental projects.
  • The suggested questions will assist non-executive directors in evaluating sustainability-focused proposals.

Environmental and sustainability professionals and managers (ESPMs) are required to develop business cases in support of proposed projects, programs and initiatives (PP&Is) they propose as do other parts of a business. Often what is overlooked by these professionals is a clear understanding of the financial business models of the organisations for which they work. Also, they tend to use language they are familiar with, i.e. that known to ESPMs, rather than the language and nuances understood by those in the business with commercial and governance responsibilities.

Understanding the business model is one of the critical issues for ESPMs to understand. What is needed by the ESPMs is business thinking, formed through asking business-focused questions, that will enable these ESPMs to determine whether their PP&Is are aligned to the business' core objectives and whether these PP&Is should be funded and progressed. Non-executive directors need to be aware of these challenges that specialist managers and executives face as they pitch their proposals for funding or board acceptance.

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